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Bangladesh - April 30, 2022

Women, children victims of wage gap

Use of children in risky works on rise despite rule

Golam Mostafa Jibon: Despite different initiativesand announcements by the government, use of child laborers in different risky works is not reducing at all, while the discrimination over wages of women and child laborers is still a big factor.
Though, the government has taken several initiatives with a view to ensure safe workplace and fair wages for the women workers, most of the women are being victimized of harassment and abuse in their working places, while underage children are being used in different risky professionsthat growing concern among the civil society members.
Several socio-cultural organizations also raise voices during the celebration of May Day, but no visible movement is noticed just after the day in which the effort of the government goes in vain. Not only that, the demand for the women and children protection remains unfulfilled day after day.
According to the sources, child laboring is not being stopped even after repeated announcements by the government. Institutions are also engaging children as laborers, ignoring Article 34 of the Constitution due to lack of proper action of the government. At the age, when children are supposed to go to school with books and bags on their shoulders, they are losing their way in the maze of poverty and are being forced to engage in risky jobs.
RabeyaYeasmin is one of the victims. She can’t even say her own name properly, though her age is touching near to 3 years. Whether,she can say the name or not, sheis to know exactly what she has to do in the future.
So, she started working with her grandmother. Meanwhile, the number of child laborers in the country is over 1 crore. About 95 percent of the transport workers especially workers of the buses plying in the capital are children. Besides, children are being used in different risky workplaces like workshops, welding industries and motor garages with cheap wages. Owners of the organizations show interest to appoint them in works violating rules and regulation as they get them in exchange of cheap wages. As a result, the deprivation of children’s rights is always going on at the tip of everyone’s nose.
According to a survey by the Bureau of Statistics and the ILO, there are 45 types of works in the workplace. Children are actively involved in 41 out of 45 categories of works. However, the statistics show that out of over 1 crore child laborers in the country, about 60 percent are in urban areas and the remaining are in rural areas.
According to the 1974 Children’s Act, everyone is a child up to the age of 16. As per the UN, however, this age is 18. Although, the law prohibits all forms of child labor up to the age of 12, the reality is different.
State Minister for Labor and Employment MunnujanSufiansaid, “The government earlier signed the ILO Charter. It is also working over the National Child Labor Elimination Project, but is not doing much good. However, the government is still working to protect children’s rights. Meanwhile, the government’s repeated announcements to stop child labor did not work. On the contrary, child labor has increased several million in the last few years. If the authorities concerned can’t pull the reins now, darkness will come down instead of light in their lives.”

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