Common Family Problems
The term “child labour” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their
potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.
It refers to work that:
is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children;
Interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to attend
school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to
combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
Not all work done by children should be classified as child labour that is to be targeted for
elimination. The participation of children or adolescents above the minimum age for admission
to employment in work that does not affect their health and personal development or interfere
with their schooling, is generally regarded as being something positive. This includes activities
such as assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and during
school holidays. These kinds of activities contribute to children’s development and to the welfare
of their families; they provide them with skills and experience, and help to prepare them to be
productive members of society during their adult life. Whether or not particular forms of “work”
can be called “child labour” depends on the child’s age, the type and hours of work performed,
the conditions under which it is performed and the objectives pursued by individual countries
The answer varies from country to country, as well as among sectors within countries. The worst
forms of child labour involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to
serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities –
often at a very early age. Whilst child labour takes many different forms, a priority is to
eliminate without delay the worst forms of child labour as defined by Article 3 of ILO
Convention No. 182:
all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of
children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or
compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict;
the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of
pornography or for pornographic performances;
the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the
production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties;
work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm
the health, safety or morals of children (“hazardous child labour“)
The ILO within the framework of the Pakistan Decent Work Country Programmed (2016-20) is
providing technical assistance to the Government of Pakistan, the Employers’ and the Workers’
organizations to progressively eliminate the worst forms of child and bonded labour in the rural
economy. Child labour cuts across the sectors but is largely prevalent in the rural economy. The
DWCP (2016-2020) is expected to contribute in mainstreaming child and bonded labour issues
in the federal and provincial policies and strategies. The Government of Pakistan has ratified
ILO core Conventions related to child labour: Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138); Worst
Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182). Under the ILO’s child labour programme
various successful initiatives have been carried out in the Soccer Ball, Carpet weaving, surgical,
glass bangles, deep sea fishing, leather tanneries, domestic work, coalmines, rag-picking, autoworkshops, and brick kiln sector. ILO has also responded to rehabilitate child labour in the
earthquake affected areas.
In all these ILO interventions, thousands of child labors, girls and boys, have been rehabilitated
through the provision of non-formal education and related services. Moreover, ILO has helped
develop a District Model approach to built the capacity of and provide tools to the District
Government to address the issue of child labour at the local level.
The following strategies, among others, have been devised to achieve the objective of
progressive elimination of the worst forms of child labour and bonded labour in Pakistan:
Strengthening capacity of the tripartite constituents to address the issue of child and
bonded labour in the rural economy.
Strengthening the capacity and enhancing awareness of rural communities to end child
labour and bonded labour.
Supporting the federal and provincial authorities to enhance their capacities on data
collection and analysis.
Promoting inter-agency cooperation, partnership and learning to improve knowledge
sharing and advocacy.
Supporting the ILO constituents develop community-based child and bonded labour
Moreover, ILO has helped the Ministry of Education to ensure that national Education
Policy 2009 effectively respond to rehabilitate child laborers through the provision of
formal and non-formal education.
At present, the ILO is executing the following development cooperation projects to address child
The ILO-DFID Asia Regional Child Labour Programme (here below, the Programme)- is
an ILO programme aiming to reduce child labour with a particular focus on the Worst
Forms in South and South-East Asia funded by the UK Department for International
Eliminating child labour and forced labour in the cotton, textile and garment value
chains: an integrated approach.
Promotion of Decent Work Opportunities for the Economic Empowerment of Vulnerable
Segments of Society.
Promoting Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in the Cotton Supply Chain.
Child labour and Education
Article 26 of the UN charter for Human Rights 1948 states that everyone has the right to
education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary
education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally
available. Article 28 of the UNCRC, 1989 recognizes the right of the child to education and
Primary education compulsory and available free to all;
Development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational
education, available and accessible to every child;
Measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of dropout rates.
Article 32 of the UNCRC recognizes the right of the child to be protected from economic
exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the
child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or
ILO Minimum Age Convention, No. 138 (1973) “The Minimum Age…shall be not less than the
age of completion of compulsory schooling ….”
ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, No. 182 (1999): “Each Member shall …ensure
access to free basic education, and, wherever possible and appropriate, vocational training, for all
SDGs and Child Education
SDG 2 aims to ensure all children complete primary education
SDG 3 aims for equality of education access between boys and girls
90 of the 152 developing countries are considered off track –will not reach the goal on
SDG progress report “High rates of poverty in rural areas limit educational opportunities
because of demands for children’s labour….”
Education for All (EFA)
The World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000: international commitment to make basic
education a high development priority. Set targets for achievement of basic education standards,
including universal primary education (UPE), by 2015.The 2007 EFA Global Monitoring Report
stated that EFA requires an inclusive approach and called for policies aimed at “reaching the
unreached”, including policies to overcome the need for child labour
EFA Global Monitoring Report
Primary school aged children not enrolled dropped from 105 million to 72 million between 1999
and 2007.Progress also on secondary education: enrolment up from 60% (1999) to 66% (2007).
Rapid progress in some countries shows impact of political will and donor support. A major
challenge remains to enroll and retain all children, especially the poor and disadvantaged. Goal
of gender parity in primary and secondary education by 2005 was missed. Only one third
reached the target
Poor education quality is undermining achievement of EFA. Shortage of qualified teachers. 1.9
million Additional primary teachers needed. Based on present trends it is likely that more than
100 countries will not achieve UPE by 2015: 56 million children will be out of school
Causes of Child Labour
Limited access to education
Discrimination in society