Child Labour

Rapid assessment of child labour in waste-picking in Pakistan

Substantial number of children and adolescents are involved in work, including hazardous work like waste-picking in Pakistan. As Pakistani cities generate increasing quantities of solid waste – due to high levels of population growth and rapid urbanization – municipal waste management systems struggle to keep pace. Improper waste disposal practices abound, opening up space for private stakeholders to dominate scavenging and recycling activities with little or no government overs.

This rapid assessment was commissioned by the ILO Office for Pakistan under
Asia Regional Child Labour (ARC) Project, with the financial support of Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom. The project aims to reduce children’s vulnerability to child labour and protect them from exploitation in five Asian countries, including Pakistan.

This rapid assessment examines children’s involvement in waste-picking in Pakistan, the key drivers pushing and pulling children in waste-picking, their socio-demographic backgrounds, the conditions in which they work, the hazards they face, and the impact these have on the children involved. Based on its findings, the assessment offers recommendations to assist the Government of Pakistan, UN agencies, development partners, employers and civil society organizations to develop action programmes to address children’s engagement in waste-picking nationwide.