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“Child labour laws should be enforced and violators punished”

Children in Pakistan are all too often compelled to work as labourers and denied access to education. Faisal Saleh Yaqub, 19, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Lahore, says their plight must not be forgotten.

Child labour is a great menace that affects millions. It is a mind-boggling issue limiting the lives of children not only in Pakistan, but all over the world.

The English writer and poet William Wordsworth once said that the child is the father of man. By this measure, a small kid of today is the leader of tomorrow. He is the one who will control the whole nation in the future.

However, in a third-world country like Pakistan children are forced to do work. Child laborers are deprived of the basic pleasures of childhood and cannot fulfill their righteous desires.

Children want to go to school, but poverty has forced them to do tedious jobs. But when children are denied access to the school, they are not able to attain skills necessary for national development.

Usually children working below the age of 14 are considered child laborers. In Pakistan, child laborers are employed in fields such as manufacturing, mining, domestic work, hotels and workshops. Children are also employed in hazardous works like fireworks, and this can pose a great threat to their lives.

The field which employs the most child workers in Pakistan is agriculture. On the land, they usually look after animals, collect firewood, fetch water, spray fertilizers and do other farm related work.

Large numbers of children are also working in manufacturing such as the carpet industry, leather industry, glass bangle industry, surgical industry, deep fishing industry and tanneries. In carpet and leather industries, child laborers are exposed to hazardous chemicals, which can prove fatal for their lives.

Government and NGOs are working to curb child labour, which is driven by inflation, poverty, illiteracy and unemployment, but a lot more needs to be done. Several laws have been formulated to curb the practice, but implementation is lacking.

Eradication of child labour is necessary for the healthy development and wellbeing of any nation. Primary education should be made compulsory. Child labour laws should be enforced, and violators should be punished strictly.

Awareness should be raised among the parents of child laborers. Steps should be taken for the eradication of poverty and unemployment. Better educational and health facilities can also help to reduce child labour.

Children are an integral part of our society; we should never forget them.

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About me:
My name is Faisal Saleh Yaqub, and I am from Lahore. I am an undergraduate engineering student at GIK Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology, KPK, Pakistan.

My hobbies include reading, writing, gaming and travelling. I usually write on topics related to social issues and youth. I believe that youth can change the future of any nation. I always strive to highlight the importance of youth as a game changer of today.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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