Child Labour In Pakistan

Article: Child Labour In Pakistan  http://www.theatlantic.com/past/issues/96feb/pakistan/pakistan.htm

The Atlantic, Jonathan Silvers

Issue Overview:

The issue of child labour in Pakistan is one that has been relevant for a long time.  Pakistan is one of many Third World countries that use children as their main labour force.  Roughly eleven million children between the ages of four and fourteen are forced to work in Pakistan’s factories in terrible working conditions.  This practice has been going on for decades but seems to have reached epidemic proportions.  Poverty is the root of this problem.  Families are not making enough money to survive so they are forced to send out their children to work in order to support the family.  Pakistan has a huge birth rate so there seems to be a never ending supply of children to work.  And companies pay the children very little in relation to adults.

Key Stakeholders:

One key stakeholder is the children. Children are torn from their families as young as 3 years of age.  They are often beaten and raped by men in positions of power.  Most of Pakistan’s farming industry is run by toddlers.  Their childhood is taken from them before it ever really began. Another Key stakeholder is the families of these children. The families suffer being torn apart.  Parents are forced to “sell” their children in order to survive. Companies are another key stakeholder.  The company owners benefit greatly because they make a great deal of money from the manufacturing of products and have very few labour costs since the children are paid very little.  The government, who is also a key stakeholder, benefits because “inexpensive child labor has fueled Pakistan’s economic growth”.  (Child Labour in Pakistan – Jonathan Silvers – THE ATLANTIC) Lastly, the consumers in the western world are key stakeholders. Consumers in the western world definitely benefit from child labour as we buy the products very cheaply.  Companies that sell product made in Canada have a difficult time competing with companies selling product made in Pakistan.  Their labour costs are so much higher that consumers are forced to pay more for product.

Contributing Factors:

The main factor that causes this issue is poverty.  Families in Pakistan are living in such dire poverty that many can’t afford to keep their children in school, they need them to go out and work.  Another factor is lack of labour laws and lack of enforcement of these laws.  Another factor is corruption in the system.  The government often “looks the other way” when laws are being broken as long as someone is paying them to keep quiet.

Implications:

There are many impacts of child labour and none of them are positive.  There is an entire generation who will grow up without an education as they have been taken out of school to work at such a young age. )  There will be a psychological impact as well as a generation of children have never been allowed to play or have any leisure time.   The institution of the family and the social stability that it provides, have been completely destroyed.  The economy of Pakistan is growing very quickly due to inexpensive child labor.  “Entire industries have relocated to Pakistan because of the abundance of cheap child labor and our lax labor laws.  (Jonathon Silver)

Bias:

The bias of this article is clearly against the practice of child labour.  The Atlantic Magazine is an American publication which highlights social and political issues around the world.  The writer of this article, named Jonathon Silver, is a Pakistani man who is hoping for a change in labour practices and an end to child labour.

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