Implementation of child labor laws called for

A collective effort from government and civil society is needed to protect children from child labor


Sindh Human Rights Commission (SHRC) and Society for Protection of Child Rights (SPARC) organized an event to celebrate World Day Against Child Labor under the theme “Acting on our Commitments : put an end to child labor”.

The session brought together policy makers, officials, civil society and humanitarian organizations to discuss and strategize on future measures to eradicate the scourge of child labor from society.

Despite national policies, Pakistan continues to struggle with one of the highest rates of child labor in South Asia.

Speakers at the session insisted on collective action by governments, employers, workers and civil society to eliminate this scourge.

The harmful effects of child labor, including health and safety risks, disruption of education, barriers to development, reduced productivity, increased crime, exploitation, Damage to international image and human rights, psychological damage, impaired cognitive growth and links to trafficking and crime, were highlighted.

Addressing the occasion, SHRC Chairman Iqbal Ahmed Detho highlighted the slow pace of societal change despite existing laws protecting children’s rights and highlighted the urgent need to address the plight of Karachi’s 30,000 street children .

Detho presented SHRC’s initiatives to mainstream human rights education in schools, referring to Article 25A of the Pakistani Constitution on free education.

However, challenges persist in the distribution of textbooks despite budgets of 3 billion rupees.

He also highlighted the Sindh Protection and Promotion of Breastfeeding and Young Children’s Nutrition Act, 2023, aimed at improving child nutrition.

Present on the occasion, MQM-P MP Dr Fozia Hameed said large-scale awareness campaigns are needed to combat child labor in Sindh. SPARC Board Member Gul Masoti highlighted the critical need for effective implementation of child labor laws and shared success stories of children transcending work through education . A professor from IBA Karachi, Dr Junaid Memon Alam, highlighted the right of every child to education, narrating his personal journey from struggles to becoming a teacher.

SPARC Advisor Shumaila Muzzamil encouraged the children to understand their rights and pursue happiness.

SPARC Program Manager Kashif Mirza presented a documentary on child labor, focusing on schools and drug abuse in Machar Colony.

He detailed SPARC’s efforts, including a letter to the Ministry of Education regarding the settlement’s schools, and expressed solidarity with the children of Gaza, highlighting their plight.

Human Development Foundation Chairman Rana Asif Habib said child labor poses a barrier to children’s education. He also shared his experience of ten years working in Machar colony and stressed the importance of treating children with dignity and compassion.

Representatives from SPARC, SHRC and other partner organizations highlighted the urgent need for concrete measures against child labor in Pakistan.