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World Day Against Child Labour: COVID-19 Triggers Child Labour as Pakistan Aims to Protect Child Rights

World Day Against Child Labour 2020 focuses on the impact of crisis on child labour. The COVID-19 health pandemic and the resulting economic and labour market shock are having a huge impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.

Unfortunately, children are often the first to suffer. The crisis can push millions of vulnerable children into child labour. Already, there are an estimated 152 million children in child labour, 72 million of which are in hazardous work.

These children are now at even greater risk of facing circumstances that are even more difficult and working longer hours.

Federal Ministry of Human Rights Friday on eve of World Day Against Child Labour said, “World Day Against Child Labour in memory of Zohra Shah and all other children who have been victims of abuse and exploitation, we must reaffirm our collective commitment to protect child rights in Pakistan to ensure that each child can realize their potential #ProtectOurChildren.”

As per the Punjab Restriction on Employment of Children Act 2016, if a child would be engaged in child labour from seven days to six months, the owner will be fined from 10,000 to 50,000.

Child rights activist, Ifthikhar Mubarik told Mashable Pakistan that the situation has been very disappointing in Punjab and much needs to be done to improve the situation in order to curb child labour in the province.

There is an urgent need to pace up the efforts so implement minimum age for admission to work (14 or 15 years) with the compulsory schooling age (16 years).

“The biggest challenge being faced is about the exact data of child labour in province. When we get the exact data, we will be able to come up with the policy making guidelines,” he added.

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