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Child Labor In Pakistan

Child Labor In Pakistan

The factor of engaging a child below 15, to some work rather than sending them to school is called child labor. Child labor all over the world has increased speedily in the recent years. There is no exact information regarding child labor. In most developing countries of world, mostly children are working on the places that are auto mobile workshops, weaving industries, domestic servants, restaurants and in many industries in Pakistan. In other forms of work, it has seen that children are begging which they have to make for their masters.

Lack of awareness and illiteracy are the main causes between parents who avoid sending their children to school. Mostly child labors are from alliterate families. Mainly three forms of child labor are

Non-exploitative child labor mean any work done by a children which is hazardous, harmful for their health, or harmful for their mental, physical or social development and stop to get education. Some hazard conditions are working in mines, working with dangerous machinery and working with chemicals.

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Hired child labor mean children which are preferred by employers because they are cheaper as compare to adult. In many works child labor are more active like they have more speed to do work and their eyesight is sharper than any adult person.

Bound child labor is performing in which owner give high interest loans to labors in exchange for long term work or when a person children or any family member takes a debt against any work.

Labor may also be categorized according to the nature of job. Domestic servants, the child worker who are working in carpet industry, the children who work on shops, canteens, general store as salesman, the children who are working in the workshop using light machines like tools, tailoring or embroidery and children who are working in heavy workshops tough labor that is light labor.

Children are working in different sectors of countries in different ways, types and in professions some of them are agriculture sector, cotton industry, flower industry , domestic labor, brick kilns, fireworks, cigarette rolling, construction, mining, forestry, manufacturing, retail and service industry, stone quarries, sugarcane, toys, slavery, child soldiers, jewelry making, news, sweatshops, restaurants, fishing, factories, carpets weavers, farm works, and trafficking.

“Child labor in Pakistan is the employment of children for work in Pakistan, leading to mental, physical, moral and social harm to children. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan estimated in the 1990s that 11 million children were working in the country, half of those under the age of ten. In 1996, the median age for a child entering the work force was seven, down from eight years old 2 years prior. It was estimated that one quarter of the country’s work force was made up of child laborers” (Wikipedia)

“Child Labor by Numbers are 218 million children worldwide are child laborers, 73 million working children are less than 10 years old, 126 million are estimated to work in the worst forms of child labor, one in every 12 of the world’s five to 17 years olds, 8.4 million children are trapped in slavery, trafficking, debt bondage and other forms of forced labor, forced recruitment for armed conflict, prostitution, pornography and other illicit activities, 2.5 million children work in the developed economies, 22,000 children die every year in work-related accidents, 127 million working children are in the Asia Pacific region. Nearly one third of children in Sub-Saharan Africa work” (Child Labour Public Education Project)

“Child labor is a significant phenomenon, large in scope, and with very important social and economic implications. It takes a variety of forms, from children working on family farms or in family businesses to children engaged in sweatshop labor, prostitution, armed conflict, or other illicit activity. It also has serious implications on human capital accumulation and in perpetuating poverty and therefore is closely linked to progress against the MDGs, especially the goal of achieving universal primary education. Given the connections between child labor and schooling, the efforts of the Education for All partnership will not be fully successful without addressing child labor.” (Gordon Betcherman, 2004)

“Child labor was employed to varying extents through most of history. Before 1940, numerous children aged 5-14 worked in Europe, the United States and various colonies of European powers. These children worked in agriculture, home-based assembly operations, factories, and mining and in services such as newsies. Some worked night shifts lasting 12 hours. With the rise of household income, availability of schools and passage of child labor laws, the incidence rates of child labor fell.”(encyclopedia)

“One-third of the working children are literate, which shows that mere completion of primary education is not an effective deterrent to child labor. School enrolment indicates that economically active children who are not enrolled in school (34.2 per cent) are higher than economically active children combined with school (13.2 per cent). This shows that enrolment is negatively correlated with the involvement of children in economic activity. Education attainment is low because of limited opportunities resulting from inaccessibility of schools; inability of parents to afford schooling costs; irrelevance of school curriculum to real needs, and restrictions on girls’ mobility in certain parts of the country.” (ILO, 2009)

“Child is not born for work rather to study, but wall of encumbrance either in financial term, economic term or in social term made him compelled for labor work. Understanding real economics of child labor can have better policy to tackle this issue. Asia has a large number of child domestic workers. These include children working as child minders, maids, cooks, cleaners, gardeners and general house-helps. The lack of information is major cause of not having thorough analysis of incidence and nature of child domestic workers in many Asian countries. However, there is not a significant reduction in child labor participation, especially in Asia.” (htt12)

“Child labor has been acknowledged as a serious and challenging issue in the civilized societies around the globe. Its continued existence remains a source of concern for all segments of human society. Different socio-economic factors can be held responsible for the prevailing poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, lack of family planning, dissatisfaction about education system, absence of social security mechanism and many others. Now it is the responsibility of the government to provide children with their rights and to protect them from all sorts of exploitation, because the future of mankind and civilization lies in children. Their protection from physical and social hazards is a pre-requisite for proper development of children to ensure future progress and prosperity of mankind.” (Khan)

Objective of the Study

The aim of this study is to determine the factors responsible for child labor in Pakistan and to find out the problems which affect the children to do work in early age in which all children are going to schools and play. Another aim if research is to know that what are the factors due to which a child in enforced to be a child labor in Pakistan. The objective of the study is to find out variables and factor due to which child labor occur or what are the causes behind child labor, why children do work in small age and the forms of the child labor in the country. The main three variables behind child labor are poverty, inflation and unemployment in the country which are somewhere cause of child labor. The primary object of this study is to estimate the effect of poverty, literacy, inflation and unemployment on the occurrence of child labor. So


The study would be based on following hypothesis; these hypothesis have been develop after reviewing the relevant literature

To analyze the effect of poverty on child labor

H1: Effect of poverty on child labor is significant

H1o: Effect of poverty on child labor is in-significant

To analyze the effect of Literacy on child labor

H2: Effect of inflation on child labor is significant

H2o: Effect of literacy on child labor is in-significant

To analyze the effect of inflation on child labor

H2: Effect of inflation on child labor is significant

H2o: Effect of inflation on child labor is in-significant

To analyze the effect of Unemployment on child labor

H3: Effect of Unemployment on child labor is significant

H3o: Effect of Unemployment on child labor is in-significant

Chapter # 2


Child is a person 14 years and below.

Child labor is a permanent employment of children under the age of legal minimum. Worldwide total numbers of child labor (5-14 ages) are 250 million and almost half of them 120 million are working full-time.

“According to The ILO and the ETI Base Code state that a child is any person younger than 15 years of age, unless local minimum age law stipulates a higher age for work or mandatory schooling, in which case the higher age shall apply. If however, local minimum age law is set at 14 years.” (Ethical Trade Insentive, 2012)

“According to the United Nations, a “child” is any person under the age of 18. Specific labor laws may consider people under the age of 16 children for legal purposes, and in some countries the cut off may be even lower, around 12 or 14. Statistics on this type of labor usually focus on children between the ages of five and 14, because many nations in which child labor are a problem have laws which allow people to work full time after the age of 14.”(wise greek)

“Child labor was employed to varying extents through most of history. Before 1940, numerous children aged 5-14 worked in Europe, the United States and various colonies of European powers. These children worked in agriculture, home-based assembly operations, factories, and mining and in services such as newsier. Some worked night shifts lasting 12 hours. With the rise of household income, availability of schools and passage of child labour laws, the incidence rates of child labor fell.”(encyclopedia)

The worst forms of child labor. In all over the world there are an expected 218 million child laborers, which a in between the ages 5 to 17. A number of 126 million of these children work in hazardous conditions such as: Working in mines, working with chemicals and pesticides in agriculture, working with dangerous machinery, Forced and bonded labor, Armed conflict, Sexual exploitation and child pornography, illegal activities.

Gender differences in child work activities:


Gender differences

House cleaning

Only girls

Collecting ¬re wood/ dry cow dung to sell

Both boys and girls but more commonly girls


Both boys and girls

Cooking food

Only girls

Child care

Both boys and girls but mostly girls

Mini-bus conductors, household maids,

Mini-bus conductors are commonly boys, housemaids

Loading goods on pack animals for market

but commonly boys

construction child labour

commonly boys

Waiters, kitchen hands in restaurants

Both girls and boys engage in work in cuisine, cleaning dishes in restaurants

Apprentices in garages/ workshops

Only boys work as apprentices in garages

Working as a porter

Boys do more brokering, working as porters

Causes of Child Labor:


Children work for a variety of reasons. The major reason is poverty. Poverty is the lack of food, shelter, money and clothing that occurs when people cannot satisfy their basic needs. Poverty can be understood only lack of money or most of them in terms of barriers in everyday life. At certain levels of poverty in developing countries, child labor could play a useful role in the economic survival, which increases national economic development.

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The unequal attention of poverty between children compared to adults demands reason and attention. Child labor causes poverty because when a child is employed he takes a place of an adult job, so there is decrease in adult income in the industry. And when the child is without education and they do work so there is no possibility of escaping from poverty. Poverty in the country is the main cause of child labor which forces the parents to send their children to work. Poor Families which face the poverty force their children to work for extra income for their household’s. Poor families like to have more children and when the income of an individual one in not enough then they force their little children to go for work anywhere they have. A large number of members represent a financial need for families suffering from poverty; parents are forced to send their children to work to earn extra income.

Lack of education

Between the poorer parts of society is also most important cause for children to start working before time. Necessary education is not free in all countries and in many countries it is not available for all children, especially in rural areas. So if there are schools in some areas there is poor education or where education is expensive parents observe no value in education field then due to this situation parents send their children to work rather than schools. Children are mostly encouraged to work by their parents. Uneducated and unaware people never think about child labor and they are also unaware of the dangerous physical and mental pain of children. When parents agree to their children to go work, it affects their chances to go school. Schooling problems also contribute to child labor. Many times children search for employment just because there is no access to schools. Even as the parents cannot afford for their children to be educated nor do they understand the importance of primary education in children lives. Or Due to insufficient educational facilities many families think that school won’t help their children survive.

Gender inequity

Means gender differences which refer to inequality between persons due to gender. The encouragement of gender equality means give equal opportunities to boys and girls, and men and women. Social thoughts towards girls and women are most important cause of child labor effect on child to do work because women are not allowed to go outside from home for any work. The encouragement of equality between girls, boys, men and women. Child labor is work which subjects children to use and abuse.

Lack of unemployment

Lack of unemployment of adults and when the adults are not in position to do work like disable adults or ill adults or death member of the family.

Demand for child labor

Demand for child labor is increasing day by day for cheap labor which is also a cause of child labor. Market demand of child labor cause strong demand by many companies because they want to win large market share. So children are considered as a cheap source of labor which provides an opportunity to increase earnings. And Demand for cheap labor by contractor’s means that children are often offered in the workplace of their parents. With limited margins of this type, such as contractors and farmers make game owners know that children can be exploited and forced to work for less than minimum wage.

Escape from home

This may also factor or cause of child labor. When a child escapes from home he may have many reasons like

Bad temper of the parents, because generally the insufficient salary of fathers provides lack of basic human needs to their families which create a frustration and anger in the members of family after that it turn to the attitude of fathers or head of family in harsh or strict due to which a child prefer to leave from the home in search of his own comforts, it might be physical or mantel. And when a child leaves the home he faces different problems of necessities so that why he have to do any work to survive.

Company of other children plays an important role in child grooming because the company of friend makes a child manner able and social. It is psychological fact that surroundings affect individual’s behaviors and attitudes and the habits of child is also depend on the company of family and friends. Usually negative activities between the children create negative impact on child personality. Due to this sometime the passion of negative activities level become high and serious for a children future. In these situations the strictness from home and school enforce children to escape.

Behaviors of the teachers at schools also plays very important role in child life. Because teachers are the builders of nation. But in our society the way of teaching is quite harsh and the methods of teaching are also useless. Mostly children are punished physically for their minor mistakes which create unfriendly atmosphere then due to these type of behavior of teachers impact bad impression on children and force child to runaway. And after those majority children get negative feedback from home as well so they escape.

Attractions beyond the home also cause of child labor because it is the human nature that a person mostly tends toward those things which they don’t have. And these types of want are found in children. In some cases due to some reasons parents are unable to provide the needs of their children so this also lead to child to escape for necessities.

Political Crises

Political crises and political issues Sometimes have caused violence, rallies, strikes, civil wars, terrorism and armed conflicts due to which there is a political and economic instability in the country so adults are unable to do work or jobs or in some other situations children have to do work for their needs.


Large family sizes and over population are main factors which cause child labor. The basic cause of child labor is high population growth-rate, particularly in Third World countries. According to, “Pakistan has increased its ranking from 7 to 6th in the list of most populous countries of the world. The figures are based on a July 1, 2007 estimate by the UN Department of Economics and Social Affairs, Population Division.

Industrial revolution

Revolution in industries plays role for child labor. Sometimes multinationals prefer to use child labor in developing countries due to industrial revolution and these which encourages multinationals to use child workers which cause a negative impact on children. Due to all these reasons child labor recruited for less pay, they take extra work from them and there is no problem of union in industry as well. This situation is also difficult for adults to find jobs and send their children for work.

Impact on Child Labor:

Immature and inexperienced child laborers might be totally unaware of the short and long term risks involved in their work. Children who work frequently face serious health problems due to continuous work in hazardous conditions. The employers also don’t care at all about child labor that are unhealthy and carry on working for long time with a tiny or no break. Child laborers are mostly without a basic education, regular social interaction, and emotional support from their family.

Lifetime physical and emotional hurt to the child. Their mental health also crushes. Mostly children face mental trauma when they reach to maturity.

Children that cannot find work to feed big families choice to begging on the streets and in many cases child labor also killed or become victim of prostitution. And in many cases children turn in to thieves only because they need rapid money on which their families are depended.

It also has a negative impact on the benefit of the country. Because these children do not get any education, and increasing literacy, and slow down the country’s economic growth in general, reflecting the weakness of human development.

Girls who work as home servants away from their homes, sometimes in different Middle Eastern countries, are common victims of mental, physical and sexual abuses which cause shocking consequences on their physical condition.

Some circumstances which are faced by the child are dangerous workplaces, full time work in early age, loss of education and future opportunities, too much working hours subjection to verbal, physical, psychological and sexual abuse, limited or no pay, no way to get education, powerless to run away from poverty cycle they do work in streets in bad conditions.

Illegal Activities

Now a day’s children have strong involvement in illegal activities like the production and trafficking of drugs. Trafficking is illegal activity of buying and selling of drugs in which a lot of children are involved. Mostly children may do these activities because they belief that this will give them money and status. Children who do this work take great risk of abuse and are addicted of drugs in early age. And then these children also doing other crimes like robbery, theft, mugging, hijacking, and the children may also do this for their gangs or for their family. These all activities by children are also done due to poverty. And also affect their mental and physical growth.

Hypothetical Model and Variables under Consideration





Child Labor


(Dessy, 2003), “Shows the Harmful forms of child labor have an economic role: by maintaining wages for child labor high enough, they allow human capital accumulation in poor countries. Unless appropriate mechanisms are designed to mitigate the decline in child labor wages caused by reduced employment options for children, a ban on harmful forms of child labor will likely prove undesirable. Poverty alleviation techniques would eliminate that segment of the worst forms of child labor. A food-for-education program, however, might help boost support for a ban on harmful forms of child labor. Because it relaxes the liquidity constraint of the poor, this food-for-education program may induce more time spent at school, which may be sufficient to offset the negative effects of the sudden increase in the supply of child laborers We perform our analysis within a simple model of parental investment in children’s education.”

(Ebudhia) Wrote “Child labor is the worst from of child exploitation. It is widespread all over the world. About seventy-three million children belonging to the age group of ten to fourteen years are engaged in child labor all over the globe. Illiteracy of the parents, large families, need of additional income and poverty are the chief causes of the exploitation of child labor. Parents are indirectly responsible for this. Childhood is the foundation of one’s career. At this stage, children should be sent to schools, not to work. Child labor lowers the wage rates of adult laborers. Employers exploit children due to their docile nature and their willingness to do monotonous jobs. They face health problems. Several programmed have been undertaken both at the national and international level to check and stop this practice. The people should also help the government in its efforts to tackle this problem.”

(Sanjeeta) Wrote that, “Child labor is, no doubt, an evil that should be done away with at the earliest. The prevalence of child labor reflects very badly on society that is not able to stop this evil. But in a society where many households may have to suffer the pangs of hunger if the children are withdrawn from work, beggars can’t be choosers. These families have to send their children to work, even if the future of these innocents is ruined, as that is the only choice open for them to survive in this world. Therefore, unless the socio-economic status of the poor families is improved, India has to live with child labor.”

(Sparc, 2012) Said that, “Negligence on part of the government and parents, corporal punishment, poverty and poor law and order situation, especially in Fata, are the major factors behind child labor. After 18th constitutional amendment, child labor has become the legislative and administrative domain of the provincial governments,” “Children are being abused verbally, physical and sexually in factories, homes and streets, while many of them suffer from fatal ailments,” he said, adding that 85 per cent of child labor in the country worked in automobile sector. Working children were being used by militants in suicide attacks across the country. He complained that Child Protection Units in district levels were ineffective, and urged the government to conduct proper surveys to know facts and figures about child labor for necessary action by NGOs.”

According to (ILO, 2002), “Despite the increasing commitment by governments and their partners to tackle child labor worldwide, it remains a problem on a massive scale,” said Juan Somavia, Director-General of the ILO. “While there has been significant progress towards the effective abolition of child labor, the international community still faces a major uphill struggle against this stubbornly pervasive form of work that takes a tragic toll on millions of children around the world.” It also says a lack of law enforcement, and the desire on the part of some employers for a cheap and flexible workforce worsens the situation. “The effective abolition of child labor is one of the most urgent challenges of our time and should be a universal goal.”

(FASIH, 1998) The study has attempted to classify the supply side of determinants of child labor in Pakistan. The scholars have used the sample of 14,094 children from Punjab (Pakistan) in the age group of 5-14 years obtained from the child labor survey 1996. The study examines the supply side determinants of child labor by using the multinomial logit model. The study concluded that

The possibility of going to school increases at a decreasing rate

The children who join school with work remain in school for a longer period

The possibility of becoming full time child worker increase with age

The possibility of females children mostly in the labor force shows that females are 4.7 percent less likely to attend school

Children who have taken some technical or professional training are more likely to become child laborers and start work at an early age

Mother’s literacy plays a positive role in schooling decision for female children. The girls who have literate mothers are 18 percent more likely to get to school moreover female children of literate mothers are 14 percent less likely to become child laborer

The period in life cycle of the head of the family of expected to have a important effect in the case of schooling work choice. The older the head of family, the more likely it is that the child attend school

Siblings of less than 4 years have negative effect on schooling and part time work and siblings in between the age group of 5-9 years has negative effect on part tome work.”

According to (Tesfay, 2003), “Drawing upon the historical experience of advanced industrial countries, both legal restrictions and economic factors played a role in reducing child labour, although legislation appears to have been less significant. The process of industrialization may have initially increased the demand for and the scope of children’s work, however the long run economic impact of the industrial revolution resulted in its eventual elimination. Thus an increase in the aggregate number of child workers is expected to be transitory. The declining importance of children in industry combined with increasing female wage rates and the rising price of child rearing inputs, all contribute to the rising cost of child quantity and the decline in child demand. Moreover, a decline in the economic value of children in the home and in agriculture will increase the cost of children, in turn, reducing the demand for them. These factors also reduce the cost of quality and increase the demand for these commodities relative to quantity. Thus, it is the long-run economic forces of technological change, rising income, the higher price of raising children and the corresponding declining relative cost of child quality that explain the changing economic role of children over time.”

According to (Rena, 2006), “Education and child labor is the second Millennium Goal to achieve universal primary education before 2015. This is an objective based on the UNESCO Declaration on Education for All and is defined as ensuring that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling. The duration of primary education will vary from country to country with an absolute minimum of 5 years from the age of 7 to the age of 12. The definition of child labor foresees however that the education or vocational training should continue to at least the age of 14 or 15. In countries where primary education only includes 5 years, one will see a high number of economically active children in the age group of 12 to 14, many of whom will be child laborers. As stated earlier, education is seen a right for all children and as a way for individuals and societies to develop. Given economic development, the return to education is proven to be very high for individuals. However, many developing countries will not be able to meet this objective in the short time frame. Hence child labor will remain a serious challenge to the MDG. Child labor also affects school performance as children miss important lessons and fall behind academically. This creates a burden not only on the individual child but also on the entire education system.”

According to (Khan), “That child is the demand of employers. Alongside factors which push children into earning money are others which pull children into the world of work. Cheap and well-trained with reasonably low wages paid to children are often a reason why employers prefer them to adult workers. Some children work unpaid, particularly as domestic workers, in conditions that would be denounced as “slavery” if they involved adults. Employers find children more obedient and easier to control. Unlike older workers, they are unlikely to initiate protests or form trade unions. Poor infrastructure is another factor that shows the practical difficulty of establishing a child’s actual age in countries where the infrastructure may not be in place for e.g. systematic birth registration. This can disadvantage children in many ways. The role of education is also factor that children who receive little or no school education miss out on the knowledge that can create options for them later in life. Without it, they make less contribution as adults and are more exposed to exploitation and abuse. Not attending school is consequently both a cause and effect of child labor.”

According to (Udry, 2003), “Lessons for policies that can move children from work to school is also a cause of child labor. He wrote that Child labor should be understood as the consequence of people coping with extreme circumstances. It is a result of current poverty and a cause of continued poverty for the children who sacrifice their education in order to work. It is a particularly insidious problem because its primary costs are long-delayed and realized by the child, while the benefits a

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