Children in Bangladesh are subjected to the worst forms of child labour, including commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour in the drying of fish and the production of bricks, the United States Department of Labor said in its new report that was published recently. They also perform dangerous tasks in the production of garments and leather goods, the department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs in its 21st edition of the ‘Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor’ added.
Child labour is not only a cause but also a consequence of social inequities reinforced by discrimination. Child labour reinforces cycles of poverty and undermines national economies. Children who are trapped in child labour are deprived of their childhood, health and education.
The Bangladesh Labor Act does not apply to the informal sector, in which most child labour in Bangladesh occurs. In addition, penalties for child labour violations can only be imposed after a lengthy legal process and, when courts do impose them, the fines are too low to deter child labour law violations.
It is time to address the
issue of hazardous child
labour with redesigned
We live in such a hierarchical social structure where families from middle class to rich class employ children as their domestic workers. Being deprived of their basic rights such children are compelled to work as domestic helps at urban households. Poverty, lack of social security and mass-consciousness, lawlessness, wrong implementation of laws and child right acts are the main reasons pushing millions of our children to give labour to earn their livelihood and help their family. On top of that, in Bangladesh we don’t have any comprehensive public arrangement to address child labour. Also, a lack of sufficient support services for children prevents full implementation of existing government laws and policies.
It is time to address the issue of hazardous child labour with redesigned policy interventions. We hope that the government will look forward to strictly implementing existing laws and provisions to put the opportunist employer who engage children to avail benefit of cheap labour behind the bar. Besides implementing laws and provisions and making policies and ensuring proper implementation of them, what is further needed is to add-up a layer of consciousness among mass people about child labour.