May 19, 2013 | 08:16 AM (BD Time)
19 May, 2013 Sunday
The cruel negligence of future father
Md Abdul Kader:
Fazol works in silver cooking pot factory. He is 9 years old. He has been working in this factory for three years. His work starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. For his work he gets 700 taka for a month. His parents are so poor that they cannot afford to send him to school. According to the factory owner, the parents do not care for their children; they send their kids to work for money and allegedly don't feel sorry for these small kids.
Childhood is the most innocent stage in a human life. It is that phase of life where a child is free from all the tensions, fun-loving, play and learns new things, and is the sweetheart of all the family members. And it is that stage of life when the human foundations are laid for a successful adult life. But this is only one side of the story. The other side is full of tensions and burdens. Here, the innocent child is not the sweetheart of the family members, instead he is an earning machine working the entire day in order to satisfy the needs and wants of his/her family. This is what is called 'CHILD LABOUR', 'CHILD SLAVERY'.
Of an estimated of UN that 215 million child laborers around the globe: approximately 114 million (53%) are in Asia and the Pacific; 14 million (7%) live in Latin America; and 65 million (30%) live in sub-Saharan Africa and this figure is continuously increasing.
Bangladesh is a signatory to a number of international covenants against child labour, including ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No 182); ILO Forced Labour Convention (No 29); ILO Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No 105), UN Convention on the Rights of Child etc. Bangladesh has some 25 special laws and ordinances to protect and improve the status of children. A National Labour Law Commission to revise and harmonize labor laws by defining a child as "a person who has not completed his fourteenth year of age. Current laws include The Factories Act of 1965, which prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 in any factory. Bangladesh is a party to ILO Convention No. 59 Concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment in Industry and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Bangladesh has not ratified ILO Convention No. 138 Concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment.
However, child labour is rampant in the country. According to a survey of ILO (2006), there are more than 421,000 children, three-quarters of them girls, working as domestic servants in households in Bangladesh. Child domestic workers are often victims of abuse. Children who are engaged in economic activities in the streets, in hotels and restaurants and in the transportation sector, are exposed to drugs, violence, criminal activities and physical and sexual abuse. Moreover, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (2008) estimated that as many as 20,000 children are exploited in the commercial sex industry. Children ranging in ages from eight to fourteen work in the garment industry. It is reported that most of the children are girls with an average age of just over 13 years -- 10 percent of whom are already married.
The main Causes of child labour in Bangladesh is0Supply factors. Poverty is the single most important factor responsible for the prevalence of child labour in the country. About 55 million people live below the poverty line in Bangladesh. Poor households badly need the money that their children earn. They commonly contribute around 20-25 percent of family income. Floods, cyclones and riverbank erosion render many people homeless and helpless every year. Low-income families have little margin to cope with any such disaster. As a result, trapped early in the world of work, children of such families become the worst victims of any kind of disaster, natural or man-made. And Demand factor is that the lower cost of employing child workers and the irreplaceable skills provided by them are often cited to explain the demand for child labour. In all the industries that rely heavily on child labour, most of the tasks performed by children are also performed by adults working side by side with them. Clearly, children do not have irreplaceable skills.
The other factors, responsible for the demand for child labour, seem to be non-economic. Employers are tempted to hire child labour because children are much less aware of their rights and most unlikely to get organised in trade unions. They are also more trustworthy, more willing to take orders and do monotonous work.
In Bangladesh the average family size is six persons. In families where children work, the father often works as either a rickshaw puller or day labourer and the mother as a domestic help. In general, neglected children migrate to big cities with their families or alone. Often they must beg or drift on the streets in order to earn a living and will consider any work that helps them survive. Many parents of working children are illiterate and unskilled with little prospect of being able to improve their situation. There is a lack of faith in the existing education system as it does not necessarily lead to employment. Many poor parents feel that it is better for their children to learn by working rather than sending them to school. In practice, child labour laws in Bangladesh do not protect working children. Employers prefer children as they are cheap, productive and obedient. Migration of families, broken families, parental abuse and abandonment, all lead to child labour.
The effect of child labour is beggar description. Physical differences between children and adults may increase children's work-related risks such as rapid skeletal growth, development of organs and tissues, greater risk of hearing loss, developing ability to assess risks, greater need for food and rest, higher chemical absorption rates, smaller size, lower heat tolerance. Child labour deprives a child of a proper childhood. He suffers physical and mental torture. He becomes mentally and emotionally mature too fast which is a dangerous sign. Child labour creates and perpetuates poverty. It condemns the child to a life of unskilled, badly paid work. Ultimately this leads to child labour with each generation of poor children undercutting wages.
With increasing political and social commitment, involvement of the judiciary and media, active participation of civil society and a growing recognition about the plight of children, the issue of child rights and child protection is gaining greater prominence in Bangladesh. This is expected to lead to a more widespread realization of child rights. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor, effective abolition of child labor, elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, ensure livelihood opportunities for parents of poor children, promote basic rights of the children of Adibashis, rehabilitate and integrate children in conflict with the law in society, reform and enforce child-protection related laws, control price of food and other essentials and prevent adulteration of nutrient-rich food items, offer free, compulsory and quality education for all children, education facilities for working children at the work place, employers of domestic child workers to be responsible for their protection, children's hospitals in every district, with qualified doctors and nurses, free medical treatment for working children, ensure safe, sanitary and healthy shelters for homeless children, uniforms and warm clothes to be provided to poor children and street children free of cost, recreation opportunities, particularly games, songs, dances, acting, etc, for working children.
Providing children with a quality education, life and income-generating skills is now seen as a means of increasing the options available to working children and thei
Art and Culture
Focus on Chittagong
Fashion & Beauty
Food and Drink
Law and Justice
New Nation Supplement
Editor: Mostafa Kamal Majumder, Adviser Editor: A.M. Mufazzal, Printed and Published by Mainul Hosein from the New Nation Printing Press, 1.R.K Mission Road, Dhaka-1203 Phones: New Nation PABX: 7122654, 7114514, 7122655, Fax: 880-2-7122650, 9512775 email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com for advertisement, firstname.lastname@example.org