There is limited data available on child labour prevalence in Pakistan as the last national level Child Labour Survey was conducted in 1996. Since then, another survey was launched in 2019 but it has only been completed in Punjab and G-B. According to UNICEF, 3.3 million children in Pakistan are trapped in child labour. Relatedly, only 34 percent of children are registered at birth. There is a need to ensure higher birth registration rates so as to make implementation of child labour laws more realizable.
PILAP has conducted a legislative review of the extant legislation on child labour and child domestic labour (CDL). There is substantial legislation on proscribing or limiting the practice of child labour, however a major loophole is that such legislation establishes a distinction between “child” and “adolescent”, allowing the latter to be employed albeit in non-hazardous work conditions. This is not in sync with international conventions on child labour to which Pakistan is also a signatory. There is thus a need for conformity of the legal definition of child with Pakistan’s international commitments.
PILAP strategy is to engage in advocacy on issues related to birth registration, loopholes in child labour legislation, and child domestic labour through social media advocacy, media campaigns and expert panel talks and group discussions. PILAP has been developing contacts with activists on the ground that are working on the issue. Social acceptability of child labour has been identified as the main problem in Pakistan, and changing this will require attitudinal adjustments, thus our focus on strong advocacy in this area.