Child labour in Bangladesh is an almost acceptable social crime and a silent human rights violation.

There is lots of media coverage, TV awareness but the thing is still going on. I choose this as my Focused writing topic because this has become an important issue in country like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Background: Social norms and economic realities mean that child labour is widely accepted and very common in Bangladesh. Many families rely on the income generated by their children for survival, so child labour is often highly valued. Additionally, employers often prefer to employ children because they are cheaper and considered to be more compliant and obedient than adults. When children are forced to work, they are often denied their rights to education, leisure and play. They are also exposed to situations that make them vulnerable to trafficking, abuse, violence and exploitation. Millions of children are reported not to attend school, however estimates vary. Among children aged 5-14, about five million, are economically active. “Child labour” is a narrower concept than “working children”. According to the International Labour Organization definition (right), there are about 3.2 million child labourers in Bangladesh. Certain groups of children are more likely to work than others, for instance boys comprise about three-quarters of all working children. In slums almost one in five children aged 5-14 are child laborers, and of these, only 25 per cent attend school2. Rapid urbanization means that more children will move into urban slums and be compelled to work. Child employment rates increase with age. Child labour is a visible part of everyday life in Bangladesh: young children serve at roadside tea stalls, and weave between cars selling goods to motorists. Other children work in jobs that are hidden from view, such as domestic work, which makes monitoring and regulation difficult. On average, children work 28 hours a week and earn 222 taka (3.3 USD) a week4. Many of the jobs that children in Bangladesh perform are considered „hazardous‟, and put their physical and mental development at risk. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern in 2009 that many Bangladeshi children continue to work in five of the worst forms of child labour, namely welding, auto workshops, road transport, battery recharging and tobacco factories5. The Committee also raised concerns about the lack of mechanisms to enforce child labour laws or monitor working conditions, and insufficient public awareness about the negative effects of child labour. Definition: Child labor is basically exploiting the under age children in any form of forcing them to work illegally which harms or abuse them.

Focused Free Writing Child Labor in Bangladesh The full-time employment of children who are under a minimum legal age. Fundamentally, Child laborers are the child workers involved in the everyday jobs that are hazardous to their overall development. This vicious cycle results in their abuse and exploitation. Millions of child labors abound in higher percentage in countries of Asia Africa Latin America Types of child labors: Children do different types of work. Breaking bricks may cause damage to the fingers and for that a rubber made finger glove could be worn. Chips of brick may hedge into eye and cause harm. A very common job is welding. This work is inappropriate for children. These children never get any term of safety helmet during functioning. Another labor is motor mechanic. This working children working with chemical and acid. Acid used in car battery. If this acid went into the eye than that would destroy the vision. Another work is carrying heavy load or bricks up the stairs. Some people said, they should not come into this type of works. Going up the stairs and getting the dried cloths from the roof was considered as hazardous. They felt this was dangerous. 1. Domestic workers: Child Domestic service is a widespread practice in Bangladesh. The majority of child domestics tend to be 12 and 17 years old. But children as young as 5 or 6 years old can also be found working. A Dhaka University surveyed few domestic children workers, found that 38 percent were 11 to 13 years old and nearly 24 percent were 5 to 10 years old. Child domestics works long hours, getting up well before their employers and going to bed long after them. On 50 percent domestic workers work 12- 14 hours a day. Irrespective of their gender, Child domestic carry out all sorts of household work. Boys often perform tasks like going to the grocery, cleaning the drain, talking the garbage to roadside bins, washing the car and sell nuts action the other hand, girls have to iron the cloths, attend phone calls and serves the guests. The child domestic workers are often the least paid in the society, their remuneration ranging from 80 taka to 400 taka per month. In most of the cases, they hand over all their earnings to their parents, leaving nothing for themselves. Working environment for child labors: I think, every worker’s working environment should be satisfying and preferable for business. If any Factory following this policies, it may be good for workers. In term of factory compliance they need to follows the factory law about child labor and which estate, there can’t be any child labor, which are under 18 years of ages. But many farcories around Bangladesh are hiring them but. Factory pays at least minimum wage as per the current minimum wages ordinance. Also provide yearly bonus, increments and some entertainment things like picnic. Factory does not use threats or any physical, sexual or verbal abuse. Factory maintains reasonable employee works hour based on the limits on regular and overtime hours allowed by local laws. Factories with better turnover pays wages and benefits without regard to race, color, gender, nationality, religion, age and marital status. Factory recognizes and respects the right of employee to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Factory maintains a safe, clean and healthy environment. Also, free giving treatment to workers. Factory continuously monitors production process and takes step to the negative impacts.

Focused Free Writing Child Labor in Bangladesh Causes of child labor: There are various underlying causes that are prevalent behind this slavery practice: Child labor in Bangladesh is caused by a wide range of factors that have complex roots in the country's overall socioeconomic conditions, which include mass poverty; rapid growth of population, especially among the poor; and lack of access to quality primary education. In rural areas, there are still many parents who believe that general schooling for girls is wrong. There is a lack of awareness about the long-term consequences of child labor and easy and unrestricted access of the children to the job market because of poor implementation of labor laws and profit-maximizing motives of employers. Influencing Factor: The factors pushing these children to work are those that create conditions that compel children to earn a livelihood for themselves or their families. When these factors become very strong and last for a long time, the child--as well as the family-has no way to escape from working. Poverty is the most powerful push factor behind child labor. With a per capita income of $240, more than 40 percent of the country's population lives in absolute poverty and cannot afford to have two meals a day or to spend money for children's education. Such conditions of extreme economic hardship leave no alternative for the children but to work. Even if poor children are enrolled in school, they fail to continue their education for two reasons. First, though the tuition is free, poor families cannot purchase clothes and supplies. Second, schooling stops the children's earning and reduces the families' total income. As a result, the children drop out of school and work. Rootless and unemployed rural families generally migrate to urban areas in search of a livelihood. However, the head of the family's income is not enough to feed all members, so the children also have to contribute financially. Death of parents or the sole earning member of the family, divorce, separation, adultery, etc., cause many children to be abandoned every year, and these children face a severe economic crisis. They have no choice but to work for their food. Torture, abuse, family disruption, natural disasters--such as cyclones, floods, river erosion, drought, etc.--are also common push factors for child labor. Here, thousands of families lose their crops and properties every year because of natural disasters. Consequently, they become destitute, and the children are pushed to the labor market prematurely. The Pull Factors: Pull factors, which are economic, psychological, and social in nature, lead children to join the labor force. The urban economy has created more economic opportunities compared to the rural economy. For instance, in the past 10 years about 2,000 new garment factories have been established in the major cities of Bangladesh, which have created more than 1 million jobs. About 20 percent of these jobs are taken by children and youngsters. Moreover, children are also employed by small engineering workshops, hosiery factories, the construction sector, and other industries and the informal sectors.

Focused Free Writing Child Labor in Bangladesh Employers demand child labor for many reasons. For the same amount of work, a child can be paid only a fraction of an adult's salary. They are also easy to manage, do not form trade unions, accept longer hours of work, and rarely protest against poor working conditions. In domestic service, children are considered safe and psychologically more comfortable to live with. Children's work in certain economic activities, e.g., in an engineering workshop, is considered by them and their families to be a valuable opportunity for learning employable skills. To them it is an alternative education and is valued more than the traditional primary education. Child labor is rooted in poverty and the lack of economic opportunities. It is often a response by the household to the need to satisfy basic requirements. Children with unemployed parents or whose parents do not have social security must work to help in their family's struggle for survival. The satisfaction of these children's basic needs in life takes priority over their other needs such as education and recreation. Children are also encouraged to work from an early age because of the centuries-old tradition that the child must work through solidarity with the family group, so as to pay as much as possible for the economic burden that he/she represents and to share in the maintenance of his/her family, which is usually a very large one. In the Philippines, families particularly value helpfulness and responsibility-sharing. Philippine culture especially in rural areas, "considers child work as a phase of socialization where future roles are learned and working to share in the family is seen as training. The transmission of skills from parents and the evolution of proper attitudes to work are some of the considered social contributions of child labour." Another reason why children work is the failures in the education system. Many parents prefer to send their children out to work rather than to school, either because there is no school within a reasonable distance of the family home, or because they cannot do without the income the working child brings in, or because they cannot meet the costs of sending the child to school, or again because they cannot see what use schooling would be to him. Poor schooling has little credibility for many families since it does not promote economic improvement. For so long as developing countries cannot successfully maintain their commitment to a decent quality universal education, increased child participation in the labor market is to be expected. Another major factor in the increase in the number of working children is the demand for child workers. Employers know all too well the advantages of employing children. They represent a obedient work force, which could be hired and replaced at a fraction of adult wages. They do not join labour unions and very rarely complain. Above all, employers who hire children gain a competitive advantage in both national and international markets due to the low wages they pay children.

Focused Free Writing Child Labor in Bangladesh Increasing Child Labour is a core problem in Bangladesh. Factors such as increase of family dependency on Children’s earning, high demand of child labour in the labour market, inadequate access to services for the children like education, livelihood options, etc., on the other hand traditional values, norms, ethnicity, minority and practices, weak legal protection mechanisms are contributing to the increase in child labour in Bangladesh. According to Baseline Survey (BBS, UNICEF and DSS) it is estimate that 7.4 million children are economically active between the ages of 5-17 years and out of them 400,000 are child domestic workers (CDW) who are between the ages of 6-17 years in Bangladesh. 445,226 street based child workers are engaged in different kind of jobs in Bangladesh. A street child working time and hour is not fixed it varies from early morning to even midnight. Street based child workers are currently involved mainly in day labour such as, shop keeper, vendor, restaurant helper and vagrants (Tokai). STATISTICS Working children, aged 5-17 Working children, aged 5-14 Child labourers (according to definition, below), aged 5-17 Children engaged in hazardous labour, aged 5-17 Child domestic workers1 1.3 million 421,000 7.4 million 4.7 million 3.2 million

ISSUES UNICEF is not opposed to all work that children may perform. Children‟s paid and unpaid work can make a positive contribution to child development, as long as it does not interfere with health or wellbeing, or prevent education or leisure activities. However, child labour (as defined in the box, above), is work that deprives children of a childhood; work that affects children’s health and education; and work that may lead to further exploitation and abuse. Legal protection Bangladesh enacted the Labour Act in 2006, which includes a chapter on child labour. This new law prohibits employment of children less than 14 years of age, as well as prohibiting hazardous forms of child labour for persons under age 18. However, children who are aged 12 and above may be engaged in “light work” that does not pose a risk to their mental and physical development and does not interfere with their education.

Focused Free Writing Child Labor in Bangladesh The law does not provide a strong enforcement mechanism for the child labour provisions. Additionally, the vast majority of children (93 per cent) work in the informal sector which makes enforcement of the relevant legislation challenging. The Ministry of Labour and Employment has recently adopted a National Child Labour Elimination Policy 2010, its aims include: withdrawing children from hazardous jobs; improving income generating opportunities for parents so they’re not so reliant on child income; offering incentives for working children to attend school; enacting laws and improving law enforcement to eliminate child labor. A Child Labor Unit has been established as part of this policy, which will have responsibilities including collecting and disseminating data relating to child labor. According to this policy, the criteria for defining hazardous work for children includes: working more than five hours a day; work that creates undue pressure on physical and psychological wellbeing and development; work without pay; work where the child becomes the victim of torture or exploitation or has no opportunity for leisure. Child labor and education: According to the new National Education Policy, education is free and compulsory up to grade ten, however it is estimated that more than one million children have never been to school. Many children drop out of the education system before completing primary school and begin working. Most working children cite an inability to bear educational expenses as the main reason for not attending school, because there are many indirect costs such as transport and uniforms. Limitations within the education system such as poor teaching quality and a high teacher-student ratio may also discourage children from completing school. Additionally, children living in slums often move frequently due to evictions, civic unrest and employment instability, further worsening dropout rates. Many child laborers miss out on their right to education because they do not have the time to go to school or to study. Dhaka University data show that working hours are negatively correlated with school attendance. About half of all child laborers do not attend school at all, and among child domestic workers only 11 per cent attend school8. As a result, working children get stuck in low paying, low-skilled jobs, thereby perpetuating the cycle of poverty. Abuse, exploitation and violence: Working children, particularly those in hidden jobs such as domestic labor, are at risk of abuse and exploitation. One-quarter of all working children reported that they had been physically punished at their workplaces, according to a 2008 children’s opinion poll. Bangladesh’s 421,000 child domestic workers (three-quarters are girls) face particular weaknesses because they work behind closed doors. Almost all child domestic workers work seven days a week and 90 per cent sleep at their employer’s home, meaning that they are completely dependent on their employers and often have restrictions on their

mobility and freedom. About 60 per cent report some kind of abuse during their work, such as scolding or slapping. Levels of exploitation are also extremely high, as indicated by the

Focused Free Writing Child Labor in Bangladesh fact that more than half receive no wage at all (they instead receive benefits such as accommodation, food and clothing – further reinforcing dependency on their employer).A survey of these child workers found that almost all had some sort of respiratory problem and were not provided with any safety gear or protection from brick dust12. Other child workers in hazardous jobs include 123,000 children working as rickshaw pullers, 153,000 children working in restaurants or tea stalls, and 56,000 working in carpentry13. Trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation: Working children often live away from their families in situations where they are exposed to violence, abuse and economic exploitation. Their weak situation puts them at risk of trafficking as they seek a better life for themselves. A rapid assessment of commercially sexually exploited children showed that half worked in other sectors before being trapped into sex work. Additionally, more than half had been forced or trafficked into the industry, lured by false promises of jobs or marriage. The life of a child sex worker is one of violence, exploitation and physical and psychological health problems. The majority are depressed and three-quarters of the child sex workers were ill in the three months before the rapid assessment survey, many with sexually transmitted diseases. In the 3-12 months prior to the survey, one-quarter of the children were beaten, and another quarter were raped. Hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshi children work in hazardous jobs. These are jobs that have been identified by the ILO to expose children to hazards including: physical, psychological or sexual abuse; excessive work hours; an unhealthy environment. For instance, 3,400 children work in brick/ stone breaking for the construction industry. Policy Recommendations: Trade did not create child labor in developing countries. Child labor is deeply rooted in poverty and social customs. In Bangladesh, the alternative of child labor is starvation for many families, so it becomes a necessity. However, child labor is not desirable in an able and ideal society. It needs to be restricted and progressively eliminated. A progressive elimination of child labor and protection of their universal rights (including their socioeconomic, civil, and political rights) require a more creative and studied strategy. As child labor is a serious obstacle for children's mental and physical growth, its elimination is desirable. However, the law, as it is applicable to a section of the Bangladeshi economy, i.e., the export sector, cannot solve the problem of child workers. The vision of the bill is highly selective, which suggests that the motive for the bill was driven much by protectionist agenda, rather than by humanitarian concerns. Moreover, driven from the export sector, these working children would be engaged in more hazardous and exploitative jobs in the informal sector, which would be more detrimental to their health. Therefore, a broad policy package to wipe out child labor must be undertaken. Income and the living standards of poor families must be increased either through wage employment or credit and equitable income distribution. Social consciousness also has to be enhanced to protect children's rights. The schooling system should undertake technical skill development to ensure better quality and more relevant curricula so that the children's

Focused Free Writing Child Labor in Bangladesh opportunity to get jobs is broadened. To perform such a broad policy, cooperation and coordination among government, NGOs, social workers, and employers' and workers' associations are essential. Finally, legislation alone will not solve the complex child labor problem in a country like Bangladesh. It will require socioeconomic development and changes in attitudes that may come through the performance of a broad policy stated above and through the spread of literacy and education, not through trade sanctions. Developed countries and international agencies should therefore provide help and incentives to developing countries, including Bangladesh, to execute the policy, to ensure school enrollment among children, and to reduce school drop-out rates. To reduce poverty, broad-based economic and social development is essential. Policies to create labor-intensive economic growth, to increase poor people's access to productive resources and basic services, and to ensure the adequate economic and social protection of all people have to be adopted. Such measures would undoubtedly help to reduce child labor. Child labor policy must be designed in such a manner that the immediate needs of the child workers and their families can be fulfilled and a job at the end of their schooling would be guaranteed. Child workers' families should be sufficiently compensated if their children are removed from the workplace and sent to school, so that they would not have to depend on their children during the schooling. Economic incentives in the form of free school lunches, books, clothes, fee waivers, cash stipends, income-generating activities for parents, etc., should be considered in order to eliminate child labor. Society as a whole needs to be organized. Non-government organizations (NGOs) can play a vital role in raising levels of public concern, in protecting children, and in monitoring the conditions in which children work. Social workers and community organizers can also explain children's rights issues, particularly child labor concerns. Schooling is one of the best ways not only of avoiding child labor in this generation, but of preventing poverty and more child labor in the future. The educational policy of the country should ensure better quality and more relevant curricula, a flexible school calendar, and minimal costs of education. With compulsory primary education, the government should create some skill-training opportunities for the children so that they can get a suitable job after schooling. Government must budget the necessary resources for this purpose, with donors ensuring adequate resources from existing development aid budgets. Employers of these child workers should give a guarantee that the children will work for only four or five hours, and they will be provided with non-formal education. Excess institutional capacity may be utilized for schooling if there is not adequate space within the factory itself. Monitoring the compliance of these surroundings may be institutionalized through support between the government and employers' and workers' associations.

Focused Free Writing Child Labor in Bangladesh To protect children from child labour, UNICEF undertakes initiatives to promote child protection systems at national and grassroots levels, including legislative reform, creating access to services through institutional capacity building and evidence-based advocacy. UNICEF works with the Government of Bangladesh to establish learning centers in urban areas where there are high attentions of working children. Classes last for 2.5 hours a day, six days a week, so that children can continue to support their families while fulfilling their right to education. These learning centers provide basic education in Bangla, English, Social Science and Math’s, as well as life-skills education on topics including negotiation skills, interpersonal relationships, critical thinking and decision making. Students are aged 10-14, and work at least seven hours a week. The basic education course runs for 40 months and comprises five learning cycles of eight months. Children work and study in small groups, sometimes according to their skill level and sometimes by random selection to encourage peer-to-peer learning. Children also benefit from the opportunity to socialize with other students, and teachers who use interactive rather than disciplinary teaching techniques. Following the completion of three learning cycles, some working children aged 13 and 14 have the opportunity to receive livelihood skills training while completing the basic education course. This training can be in the private sector, export-oriented businesses, family businesses or apprenticeships. It aims to allow children to move into safer employment and earn a better income, to improve the quality of life for them and their families. This programmer contributes to national efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in Bangladesh. Bangladesh government together with the help of NGO’s can come up with campaign against child labor. The aims of the campaign can be: · To raise awareness that child labor is unacceptable among children aged fewer than 14; · To ensure that parents and employers are guaranteeing the rights of working children above age 14. The campaign will disseminate messages about child labor using communication channels such as: interactive popular theatre; posters and leaflets; TV and radio announcements; a theme song; school debate competitions on child labor; a music competition for working children. The projects can also include ongoing promotion, communication and social mobilization activities which aim to change social norms regarding child labor. Awareness raising sessions are held for learning center management committees, comprising parents, guardians and employers, on issues including education, child rights, child labour and hazardous work. Traditional communication channels such as school debates and interactive popular theatre are also used on a regular basis to promote this social norm change. Human rights and child labor: One of the human rights issues which has attracted attention is child labour. Child labour has been on a dramatic increase e.g. it is common to

Focused Free Writing Child Labor in Bangladesh see throughout the country large numbers of underage rickshaw pullers. In Dhaka in the past one or two years there has been a noticeable increase in the numbers of under-aged girls working in the garment industry. Child labour is spreading without any restriction, even when those involved can be easily identified, e.g., rickshaw pullers and under-aged girls in the garment industry. Since it became within a decade the leading foreign exchange earner of the country, there is no interest in putting any kind of restrictions on the garment industry. There is no prosecution of cases to enforce labour laws and therefore limited attention is paid to abuses of the child labour laws. Conclusion: The child labor problem is widespread in Bangladesh. The general impression about our child labor situation is that children are working long hours for low wages in hazardous and health-threatening conditions. In fact, the majority of child laborers are found in the rural informal sector. Both push factors and pull factors are responsible for the survival of child labor in Bangladesh. The proportion of boys are tend to be higher than girls, and about 48 percent of working children never attended school mainly because of poverty. This is mainly because the contribution of child workers to their family income is considerable

Child Labor. (2009, June 17). Retrieved March 20, 2012, from Turn Back to God:

Focused Free Writing Child Labor in Bangladesh
Hossain00, M. Z. (n.d.). Child labour : trends and features. Retrieved from Bangla Rights: Protecting Child Labor. (n.d.). Retrieved from UNICEF:

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