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Concern mounts over rising child labor
More than 12 million children thought to be employed
- ucanews.com reporter, Lahore
- June 13, 2012
â€śAccording to recent surveys, around 11 million to 12 million children are employed as child labors across the country; half of them are aged below 10,â€ť said Rashid Aziz, national manager of the Legal Advisory Unit at the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC).
â€śThe percentage of economically active children aged 10-14 years has increased from 10.9 percent in 2000 to 13.6 percent in 2011. This is a serious concern,â€ť he said.
Under Pakistani law, children may leave school at 10 years old but cannot start working until age 14, but after reviewing the laws and data, SPARC is calling for better enforcement and stricter standards. The organization is recommending the government increase the minimum working age to 16 years old.
The organization pointed to domestic employment as the worst form of child labor; 18 housemaids were killed by their employers since 2010, said SPARCâ€™s Sobia John.
â€śGovernment should target such vulnerable families in their poverty reduction programs,â€ť she said. â€śPoverty is the main reason people pull their daughters out of school.â€ť
Maryam, a 12-year-old housemaid inÂ Lahore, said she works to support her family. â€śMy mother visits me at the beginning of the month to collect my monthly salary of 2,500 rupees (US$26),â€ť she said. â€śI do not get any share except from the charity of visiting relatives.â€ť
Every fourth household inÂ PakistanÂ employs a child, according to the International Labor Organization.
Child protesters rally against abuse