TheEconomics of Child Labor in Pakistan Fareedullah kakar 18-11003UniversityName: Forman Christian College Submittedto: Rabia Wasif Dateof Submission: 21st July 2017 Abstract Childrenare not born for work rather to study but the level of poverty they and theirparents are facing force them to work for household income stability. Thispaper is a quantitative research paper so with the help of the primary source,study examines the causes of child labor, benefits of child labor andstrategies to decrease the problem. Child labor is beneficial for the poorfamilies in household income stability and for getting basic needs. It is alsobeneficial for the producers in increasing there profits. The economy of thecountry can develop as these children make final goods and services.
In thedeveloping countries like Pakistan ban on child labor is not in the interestsof the producers and the poor families.Keywords: Child labor, Poverty,Income stability, Beneficial, Economy. Introduction Childlabor is defined by the international labor office (ILO) as any activity paidor unpaid other than study of play, that is carried out by those who are underthe age of 15. Pakistan has a large number of children engaged in economicactivities and generating adequate income for their families. Children arehelping their parents in house-keeping by selling different products in thestreets or by doing hazardous work, while some work in formal and informalsectors of the market. Child labor is a major problem all over the worldespecially in the developing countries. Ban on all forms of child labor isalways in great interests of the children, but without work a child may becomemalnourished, ideal source of instant income for household may completely stop,decrease in production and profits of the producers and the economy can gotowards distortion. Other researchers have also worked on the issue of childlabor like Rana Ejaz Ali khan’s research paper “Socioeconomic Aspects ofChild Labor” which focuses on the socioeconomic difficulties children andtheir parents are facing.
Umer Khalid and Lubna Shahnaz’s research paper “SocioeconomicConditions of Child Laborers in Pakistan” which focuses on the socioeconomic conditions ofpoor children in Pakistan. Abdul Khaliq Malik, Niaz Ahmed Bhutto, DanishShaikh, Erum Akhter and Falahuddin Butt’s research paper “Another Real Factabout Child Labor” which provides information about the facts of childlabor in Pakistan. A reporter’s article “12.5 million children in Pakistanare involved in labor” published by dawn provides information on theincreasing rate of child labor in Pakistan. Shoeb Adnan’s article “5 Positive sides of child labor” which gives information about the benefits of childlabor for the poor families and the producers.
And Michael P. Todaro has alsowritten a lot on this issue in his book “Economic development”. Thereare many elements that can cause child labor and the most important elementsare included in this paper. So the main objective of the paper is to focus onthe benefits poor parents are getting by sending their children to work, thewages children are getting, effects of ban on child labor, children facing difficultieswhile working and some solutions for the issue. The scope of this paper is thatit will put a further light on the issue and allow people to balance it. The following are some research questions: – What are the causes of child labor ? – What are the benefits of child labor forpoor parents and producers?– What are the policyrecommendations for child labor issue?– Literature Review Child labor is a serious problem inmany parts of the world. In Asia a huge number of children are working in themarket in hazardous conditions as child laborers and are facing manydifficulties while working. 12.
5 million children between the ages of 5 and 14years are working as child laborers in Pakistan according to the Child RightsMovement (CRM) National Secretariat. Under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Pakistan has resolved totake quick measures to eliminate all sorts of child labor and also finish theworst forms of child labor. But still a large number of children are workingespecially in the sectors like agriculture, production lines, little autoworkshops, shops, cinemas, distributingin the city, mining, hotels, weaving, packaging and construction etc. “Poor householdsare more probably to use child labor and schooling reduction as strategies tomitigate with socioeconomic shocks”( Malik, Bhutto, Shaikh, Akhter & Butt, FactAbout Child Labour, p 5). Instead ofsending children to school for getting education, poor parents send theirchildren to work for income stability and to fight poverty.
People who sendtheir children to work live below the poverty line. The main cause of childlabor is the low household income and poverty. People living below the poverty line have very low income to survive sothey sacrifice their child’s education.
“High unemployment, unequaldistribution of resources and a high dependency ratio push children intojoining the labour force”(Khalid & Shahnaz, Socio Economic Conditions ofChild Labourers in Pakistan, p 85) . The increase of jobless people inPakistan is also the main cause of child labour. Corruption and a higher dependency ratio would generate financial pressurebetween the working people and the dependents in Pakistan.
The increase in population and fertility rate in Pakistan has alsoincreased child labor. In manydeveloping countries including Pakistan poor parents consider their children asgood source of income, but the rich society do not consider their children as asource of income. They consider this an act of cruelty. In reality for the poorpeople income from children can be very supportive. “In developing countries, family income always has been belowpoverty level, and lifestyle has always remained worst and uncomfortable”(Adnan, Positive Sides Of Child Labour, p 1). Families in developing countries havingincome below the poverty line face many difficulties in maintaining theirlifestyles. Weak and ill elder members of the family cannot afford medication,food and basic human needs.
To solve this problem income from children can havea huge impact on the family. ” Childrenfrom poor families can pay their tuition fees by working during leisure time ” (Adnan, Positive Sides Of Child Labour, p 1). Some poorparents send their children to work in their free time to pay for education.Some times working for a short time do not hamper education. Some children arevery active and also do well in exams. Parents can use their children to runand develop their business. Many children work with their parents first andstudy later. With the help of children, poor families can expand their businessand produce more.
” Working children can helpto reduce labor shortage” (Adnan, Positive SidesOf Child Labour, p 1). In Many developing countries labor shortage is ahuge problem. In Pakistan women are not allowed to work outside. So thissituation causes a severe labor shortage in the country.
This problem can besolved by letting children to work in the market. This will also benefit thepoor families. Child labor is very beneficial for many businessmen, becausechildren have special productive abilities. Like small fingers are importantfor the production of many products like rugs and carpet weaving. So banningchild labor is definitely not in the interests of the producers.
There are mainlyfour policy recommendations for the problem of child labor. The first onerecognizes child labor as a result of poverty and recommends to focus oneliminating poverty first. The government should also focus on the per capitaincome of the country. The secondapproach focuses to get more and more children into school.
And also buildingmore schools for children. Conditional cash transfer incentives can help thepoor families to send their children to school. “This strategy has wide supportfrom many international agencies and development bodies”(Todaro & Smith, EconomicDevelopment, p 371). Many non-governmental organizations and agencies areproviding aid and helping the poor families to send their children to school.Many organizations are currently active in the rural parts of Pakistan like inBaluchistan and Punjab. These organizations are making new schools and are also training the teachers to provide bettereducation in the rural areas. The third policy is to prevent child abuse and toprovide protection and support for the working children.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is working hard forthe protection of working children. It is always working for the best interestof the child. It provides children better education and support services forthose who are working on the streets. The forth approach focuses on banningchild labor in its most abusive forms . All kinds of slavery like the sale andtrafficking of children, compulsory labor, debt bondage, child prostitution andpornography and other kinds of illegal activities are harmful for the healthand morals of the children.
In Pakistan working conditions for children are often terrible.Many children work for nine or more than nine hours per day. Many children workin hazardous conditions and face terrible situations, which is dangerous forthe health and well being of the children. The worst situations that childrenface are sexual exploitation,trafficking, and debt bondage. Every year many children die as a result ofwork-related accidents. The immediate ban on all kinds of child labor is in theinterests of every poor child, but without work a child may becomemalnourished. With work a child can get education, basic nutrition, and allsorts of basic needs.
So ban on child labor is not a complete solution. Methodology The nature of this research paper isquantitative. Questionnaires were distributed among the owners of differentgoods producing firms in Quetta and Lahore. There were many children working inthese firms as child laborers. The content of the questionnaire was focused onfinding out owner’s opinion and knowledge about the issue of child labor. Thequestions asked in the questionnaire directly address the research questions ofthis paper. Result& Findings The results of the conductedsurvey to investigate owner’s perceptions of child labor in Pakistan issummarized. Closed-Ended questions were asked in the questionnaire.
The surveywas conducted from 15 firm owners. 13 out of 15 firm owners agreed that childis beneficial for the producers. 12 out of 15 owners agreed that child labor isalso beneficial for the poor families. 13 owners agreed that the issue of childlabor cannot be completely eliminated in Pakistan. 5 out of 15 firm owners wereagainst child labor.
13 out of 15 firmowners thought that child labor is good for Pakistan’s economy. 9 firm owners agreed that working forhousehold income stability effects the education of the child. All the firm owners agreed that the maincause of child labor is poverty. 11 outof 15 firm owners agreed that many non-governmentalorganizations are working hard for the education of child laborers. 14 out of 15 firm owners thought thatchildren become worse off if they do not work. 13 out of 15 children also agreed that the increasing rate ofunemployment is also the cause of child labor in Pakistan.
All the firm ownersagreed that by letting children to work helps them decrease the level ofpoverty. And 14 out of 15 firm owners agreed that ban on child labor is not acomplete solution. Discussion Allquestions of the questionnaire inquire owner’s about their opinion of the issueof child labor.
. The high rate of considering child labor beneficial by thefirm owners tells us that producers are getting more benefits from child laborin reality. Because children have special productive abilities, like havingsmall hands for the production of rugs and carpets etc. Child labor is alsobeneficial for the poor families. Therefore poor families send their childrento work for household income stability. The poverty and unemployment rate isvery high in Pakistan. So to fight against poverty children sacrifice theireducation and go to work.
Some firm owners were against child labor. Becausethey thought that child labor is bad for the morals of the children and 10 firmowners were in support of child labor, because they were getting benefits fromit. A high number of firm owners thought that child labor is good forPakistan’s economy, because children making final goods and services contributein the growth of the GDP of Pakistan. Which leads to the growth of the economyof the country.
Working for household income stability effects the education ofa child. Many children sacrifice theireducation for income stability but there are children who work first and carryon with their studies afterwards. These kind of children are physically fit andare very active. Many non-governmental organizationsand agencies are working hard for the education of child laborers. Theseorganizations are involved in getting more and more children into schools.These organizations are also building schools for poor children.
Childrenbecome worse off if they do not work because not letting children to work canincrease their level of poverty and they might work in the most abusiveconditions. The increasing rate of unemployment is also the cause of childlabor in Pakistan. All the firm owners agreed that by letting children to workhelps them decrease the level of poverty they and their parents are facing.
Soban on child labor is not a complete solution. The conducted survey tells us thatthe owners of different firms were actually in the favor of child labor. Childlabor is an act of cruelty for the rich and developed countries like Americaand the united kingdom but in the developing countries like Pakistan childlabor is good for the economy and good for the poor families and producers.
Notletting children to work or a ban on child labor can make them worse off. For adeveloping country like Pakistan the government should provide safe and betterworking conditions for the poor children and give them aid or conditional cashtransfers for their education. By doing this the poor children and theirfamilies can maintain their household income and the economy of the country cangrow and develop.
Most abusive forms of child labor in the country should beeliminated like sale and trafficking ofchildren, compulsory labor, debt bondage, child prostitution. The government should focus on the issue of poverty firstto decrease the high rate of child labor in Pakistan and the government shouldalso provide jobs for the unemployed people of the country. Conclusion Pakistan has a large number ofchildren are engaged in economic activities. These children help their parentsin maintaining household income.
Child labor a major problem all over the worldand ban on child labor is in the interests of many. But not letting children towork can make them and the producers worse off. The main cause of child laboris poverty or people living below the poverty line.
Unemployment and theincrease in population is also the cause of increasing rate of child labor inPakistan. There are many benefits of child labor for the economy, for the poorfamilies and the producers. To decrease the high rate of child labor inPakistan the government should focus on poverty. Children should be givenbetter working conditions and the most abusive forms of child labor should beeliminated. Children should be given aid or conditional cash transfers fortheir education and the non-governmental organizations are working in thisregard. With work children can get all the basic needs, producers can gainprofits. So ban on child labor is not a comprehensive solution for the countryPakistan. References Todaro,M.
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