(A source of income or an exploitation of child’s right)
Since the Poverty and Child labour are directly proportionate with each other. The existence of both in Pakistan is a persistent, omnipresent and slight ignorant phenomenon at its existing tangible scale. Children particularly of Thar Desert may need to deeply study and focus of their plight in working status across all working-fields, which make them too far of their basic rights. Indeed, few of researches conducted by different entities on specific sectors of child labour have disclosed the insights of respective child labour areas. Rather knowing as a whole the working conditions of children irrespective of specific sectors is the need of hour to go in its insight and discover the secrets.
Once it is studied the poverty stricken people of this area it finds that most of the people don’t have their own resources as they are deprived of resources. The poverty and vulnerability of the poor masses in the area leads in consequences the kind of bonded labour relations which is a widespread issue in the area having strong historical roots that are well-entrenched in the social and cultural milieu of the area. Being a multi-religious society, the lower-caste Hindu population mainly comprising schedule casts are the most vulnerable and marginalized sections of bondage relations leading to child labour as wider scale. The deeply rooted caste-system which also defines economic impoverishment and social exclusion is a significant indicator of poverty which often pushes landless tenants and their families into bondage. The socio-economic indicators of bonded/marginalized families depict a dismal scenario. There is gross economic exploitation in terms of child labour once these poor people take the loans from landlords/and contractors of area they put their children at the work. This results in violation of child rights and emergence of child labour at wider scale, rather child labour is a crime in laws.
Study generally found that 94% of households have working children. Around 42% of children of the sample work more than 4 hours a day and have prolong experience this number of extent child labour is wider which need to be check further for appropriate actions. Children work with families earn very less compared with their prolong working hours and days. Of the working children near to three quarters of children are boys and bit less than one quarter are girls. Of these working children more around 70% don’t go to schools. Indeed most of children like the work once as they were asked this question but almost all were had compliant with the hardness and hectic situation of their works including agriculture, livestock, carpet weaving, brick kilns, rope making, embroidery, sewing, domestic work, handicrafts, construction and quarries.
Once the households’ incomes offset their expenditures that shows deficit of 9% as around 80% of households are found under heavy debts. Of them majority had took these loans a year back or even more than tow years of older. As, 43.5 % the largest portion of loans have been taken to offset the expenses of foods, then second largest reason of taking loan is medical treatment which is around 15% of the total loans. 14% of loans are taken either for marriages or death feasts and 6.7% of loans being taken for income generations. All remaining loans are taken for other miscellaneous reasons are 20%. Here it is again found that most of people take most of loans for three top necessities included food, medical treatment and marriage/death feasts.
This data can really be a good guide to work over the poverty or for further investigations and researches in this regard probing the situation in depth. Overwhelming majority of parents told that they put their children at work because of poverty rather vast majority of them like schooling for their children besides work.
My article in light of findings, which explored that there is correlation between child labour as crime and poverty in Desert Thar, suggest few of recommendations including make this assessment as base for future in-depth researches and instantly take appropriate steps to cope with child labour so that vast majority of children who are off the schools could enjoy schooling and get entertained with their other basic rights which are being violated at their workplaces as a crime.
- Rather child labour is banned in law but it is there as crime. However, it needs to draw the attention of concerns to the issue so that the root causes of issue may be explored and take a step forward with better strategy to cope with the issue systematically.
- The support mechanism should include schooling facilities, evolve marketing linkages of certain occupations and crafts by making communities the owner of their business preventing from external exploitation
- The steps should be taken with recurrent lobbying and advocacy in minimizing the occurrence of child labour (which is a crime) in Thar particularly and entire of Sindh province and Pakistan at latter stage by ensuring the proactive involvement of relative Government authorities and other decision makers initially in recognizing that a problem exists that is institutionalized, widespread and growing. Further, the child labour problem must be seen, for its best solution, as seriously undermining the normal development of the working children.
- Also, facilitate and sensitize Government to take steps getting workers out of debt. For the purpose special funds might be allocated.
- Easy micro-financing facilities should be enhanced to those who are willing to start their own businesses.
Om Parkash Pragani