From the Editor-in-Chief: Our children need a safe childhood

Enayetullah Khan
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017
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There is no denying the fact that child labour in Bangladesh has become rampant. Nothing can check its escalation due mainly to its financial essentiality for a poor family. According to the National Child Labour Survey report 2015, the total number of active child labourers is 3.45 million and among them 1.2 million are trapped in hazardous forms of labour. It is true that Bangladesh’s economy is heading, with a healthy growth rate of over sever percent a year, towards the much anticipated goal of earning the status of a ‘middle income economy’ by 2021, but without addressing the perennial child labour issue. It is pertinent to remember that child labour can never be justified with any volume of economic development.

 

Children aged below 14 and who are engaged in working are defined as child labourers by the country’s Labour Act 2006. Not only that, the government has identified 38 sectors as hazardous for children’s health and mentality. But there are an incalculable number of children who are far below 14 years of age and yet are working in these sectors. Such realities on the whole are making child labourers susceptible to mental and physical abuses, or even death. Their future is tarnished by spoiling their present. A large extent of sexual harassment, too, is often reported in the media to be accompanying them. Being trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty, families which find it hard to afford minimum food and education usually tend to engage their children into physical labour. The government has taken a huge number of initiatives to alleviate poverty and illiteracy, from which the country has already started reaping benefits, but the curse of child labour still endures.

 

As a signatory to a number of international accords, the country finds it mandatory to completely remove child labour in order to attain its sustainable development goals by 2030. Therefore, the future of the country needs to be earnestly protected by ensuring a safe childhood for our children. The conclusion that is to be drawn in light of these facts is that the high extent of child labour does need a comprehensive policy instrument in order to be eradicated. Let that task be undertaken now in right earnest.

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