Child labor is a burning question of the day. When the children of the age of 5-14 years are employed to work for pay or profit, or without pay in a family, enterprise or organization, it is called child labor. It has become a serious socio-economic problem in Bangladesh. It is a curse and a satire to our development programs. It is considered as exploitative for the future of children and country. Child laborers are helpless and the employers take full advantage of this condition.
Child labor in Bangladesh has become very acute nowadays. Approximately 19% of the total child population of Bangladesh works as child labor. The proportion is much higher in case of boys (22%) than in the case of girls (16%). People, who are very poor and cannot manage their two times food and clothes, become forced to send their kids and children to do some job at lowest payment instead of sending them to the school for education. A dense population, limited resources, poverty, etc. have contributed to the increasing child labor in Bangladesh.
Child labor is a degradation of humanity. At this age, they are supposed to go to school. Instead, they take up hammer, basket, rickshaw or van in their hands and remain unfed, half-clad and bare-footed. A big percentage of children are involved in child labor in the field of agriculture, and other involved fields are fishing, mining and quarrying, construction, manufacturing, restaurants and hotels, storage, transport, communications, insurance, finance, real estate, business services and many more. Many of them work as domestic servants, whereas sometimes they are engaged to work in the fields, shops, hotels, restaurants, and small factories. They are also seen to break bricks and to carry other building materials. All the activities, which put at risk the physical, mental and moral well-being of a child, come under the category of hazardous work.
The root cause of child labor is poverty. As most of the families have low income, their children are forced to do manual labor to support their families. Often employers offer low pay for certain jobs which the grownups do not do. Such kinds of jobs are done by children. Unawareness and apathy of the parents towards education is another cause for child labor in Bangladesh. Poverty and unemployment of adults are causing their children to get involved in some kind of work in little age at low cost. So, poverty, exploitation, deprivation, and lack of good monitoring of law are the main causes of child labor.
Children of today are the future of a country. A country of children without the light of education and having ill-health expedite the degeneration of the nation. Laws and enforcement against child labor are inadequate which allow children to involve in some kind of labor. Poverty and lack of schools are the primary reasons for child labor in any developing country all across the world. In effect, they become a long-standing burden on the nation. The government should make stricter laws to eradicate child labor. So, all of us must strive against child labor and ensure a peaceful, carefree and secure world for our children. NGOs should pitch into these avenues and empower these children to a brighter future.