Guardians of child workers don’t have idea about labour law

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DHAKA, Nov 27, 2019 (BSS) – The guardians of most of the child workers
engaged in the transport sector and engaged as house helps do not have any
idea about the labour law and concerned policy.

Mohammad Sharif, a third grader student, earns Taka 200 per day which
helps his family to make its living. Sharif, along with his four brothers and
sisters, has to earn the living for his family with his mere income of Taka
6,000 per month. But, his poor father and mother do not know about the labour
law which prohibits child labour.

Being informed by a passenger that such kind of child labour is prohibited,
Sharif said that he has to work to assist his guardians and like him there
are many more child workers in the country who have to work to earn their
living.

According to the research findings of an NGO named ‘EDUCO’ which used to
work with child rights, most of the child transport workers work in the human
haulers plying on 31 routes in the capital.

Some 1068 child workers aged between 8-13 work in some 1,642 human haulers
and most of them are not aware of the concerned labour law and policy. But,
the owners of these human haulers appoint these child workers despite the
negative impacts of this kind of transport work.

Country Director of EDUCO Jonny M Sarker said it is possible to bring
positive change among the lives of the child workers through concerted
efforts between the government and the NGOs.

He said the government would implement a Taka 284 crore project to
eradicate child work in the country which aims to rehabilitate some one lakh
child workers from their risky nature of job.

The research findings showed that around 68.49 percent of the child
transport workers are subjected to repression by the vehicle owners and also
by the passengers.

Besides, 64.4 percent of the child transport workers were in the risk of
physical injury while 36.99 percent of such workers were suffering from
depression.

Most of these child transport workers work in the human haulers and their
owners appoint them since it becomes costly to appoint adult transport
workers.

Afzal Hossain, a research official of Educo opined that an effective
monitoring system should be in place so that such child workers cannot engage
in such risky and hazardous work.

He said around 68.49 percent of the child transport workers are subjected
to verbal abuse, 17.14 percent of child workers become victim of physical
torture, while 35.51 percent of the child transport workers were suffering
from mental problem.

The research findings also showed that around 58.73 percent of the child
house-helps did never go to school while 82.68 percent of the child transport
workers did never go to school. The findings also showed that most of the
guardians of these child workers do not have any idea about the concerned law
prohibiting child labour.

But, most the employers have necessary knowledge on restriction over child
labour. No employment generation initiative was found in the research to help
the guardians of the child workers while it was also found that no stipend or
donation was provided to the child workers to return back them to the
schools.

Former State Minister for Labour and Employment Md Mujibul Huq said, “We’ll
have to start work from our home to eliminate child labour. It’s not possible
to eliminate child labour through only enacting law and framing policies.
Rather, people from all walks of life including the policy makers and law
enforcement agencies need to come forward with positive mindset to this end.”

Joint Secretary of the Labour and Employment Ministry Md Azimuddin Biswas
said if concerted efforts could be taken through enabling necessary legal
framework, enhancing institutional capacity and creating favorable
environment, then it is very much possible to eliminate child labour within a
specific timeframe.

Parliamentary Standing Committee Member on the Labour and Employment
Ministry and also the Working President of Jatiya Mohila Sramik League
Shamsunnahar Bhuiyan said the government would start soon implementing a Taka
284 crore project to eliminate child labour.

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