Child Labour in Pakistan

Carpet production: child weaver, district of Lahore © ILO

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The ILO within the framework of the Pakistan Decent Work Country Programme (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, auto-workshops, and brick kiln sectors. ILO has also responded to rehabilitate child labour in the earthquake affected areas. In all these ILO interventions, thousands of child labours, 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:
  • 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 monitoring system.

Moreover, ILO has helped the Ministry of Education to ensure that national Education Policy 2009 effectively respond to rehabilitate child labourers through the provision of formal and non-formal education.

At present, the ILO is executing the following development cooperation projects to address child labour issues:
  • 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 Development (DFID).
  • 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.