Child Labor in Pakistan
Ryan Eagleton November 6, 1999
& John Hammer
Child labor is a byproduct of the industrial revolution and was used mainly because Child Labor is a cheap labor force, and because of the child size they could get into places where adults could not. During the late 18th, through the 19th century there has been a visible effort to eliminate child labor. Unfortunately most of the developing countries do not follow the child labor laws because they need the labor force, and the economy, that the global conglomerates like Disney, Nike, and Wal-mart give them.
Pakistan is a rather poor country. Many families go through a constant struggle everyday just to get enough food for them and their family. It is estimated that 500,000 to one million children ages four to fourteen are being forced, just to make carpets. Many of the men work long hours for little pay, and whenever there is an error, even due to natural disasters, they are blamed and their salary is cut or taken away. This is extremely difficult to support a family. Many fathers sell their children to carpet masters for a sum of money paid over five years. Even though the father is happy with ¼ of the sum because a deal is not worth much in Pakistan especially between rich men and poor men. When the Father receives this money he is in the masters dept and his sun must work until it is paid off.
Child labor is prevalent throughout all of Pakistan, but its worst occurrences happen in the carpet industry and the soccer ball industry. These two industries have the highest percent of working children and also maintain the worst conditions. Some of the conditions children in these industries must endure are:
1.) Low wages- children are commonly paid less than one-third of what an adult would get for the same job
2.) Little light to work by- overseers keep lights low to limit activist’s ability to take photos
3.) Forced labor- once the child's parents agree to let them work the master can extend the child's debt, which puts them in a state of perpetual servitude to the master
4.) Separation from family- the masters often sell the children like they would a slave, commonly without the parent’s knowledge
5.) Beatings- children are often beaten to "encourage" them or when they make a mistake in their duties
The factory owners who recruit these children can also continue their bondage through generations. When the debtor's children become old enough they inherit the debt and must go work for the master. In this way entire families are kept in virtual slavery for generations. The factory owners also sell off debts to other owners, which put the children in possession of the other owner and have split up many families. The factory owners are inherently implementing a system of slavery using children as the slaves.
The situation in Pakistan is in violation of several human rights listed in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It violates 4 rights listed in the article section of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are that "No one shall be held in slavery or servitude;" This means that the children in the factories are not to be held there-by-there carpet masters, and the second part that "Everyone without and discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work." The children should be paid the equal amount that anyone else gets. Article 24 that states "Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay." This violates the rights of these children in two ways. The children are having
1) Very long hours that is exhausting to them and
2) Very little rest and leisure without holidays. Article 26 which says that "Everyone has the right to an education." The children in the factories are clearly not getting an education and this should be stopped!
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