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Child Labor in Pakistan

In the United States a child that is about six years old would be expected to be in kindergarten. In Pakistan they would probably be working for their parents, or in a factory. Child Labor is a big problem in Pakistan, and the problem is getting worse.

Children are employed in brick kilns, agriculture, carpet factories, in the making of sports equipment, and surgical equipment. In a lot of these cases children are being physically and mentally abused.

There is an estimated 500,000 children working in Pakistan?any carpet factories. They are often less than eight years of age. These children work in bad conditions. They sit in cramped positions for extended periods of time. There is also wool dust floating around, and they breathe it in. They strain their eyes because of bad lighting. A lot of these children develop spinal deformities.

When children work in looms, if they make a simple mistake they may be beaten. If they try to run away, then the local police probably would return them to the looms. Sometimes the children are chained to the looms to prevent them from running away.

Some children are what you call debt-bonded laborers; when a broker offers a loan to the parents; the kids go to work in a carpet factory until the money is paid off. A lot of the times the children don't even know how much money they need to pay off. If the child makes a mistake, money may even be added to the debt.

Another problem in Pakistan is the making of soccer balls by children. Eighty percent of soccer balls sold in the United States are produced in eastern Pakistan. Most of the people who make these balls are between the ages of five and fourteen.

When a boy named Anwar's parents accepted a loan and sent him off to work, his life changed. When he was only seven, he started weaving carpets in Sindh, Pakistan. He was never asked if he wanted to work. When he was interviewed he was knotting carpets for twelve to sixteen hours a day, six to seven days a week. He couldn't stop working until he earned enough money to pay off his family's debts. Whenever he made a mistake, the debt increased. On one occasion, when his work was "too slow," he was beaten with a stick. When he tried to run away, the local police brought him back to the looms with force.

There are many things being done to help child labor in Pakistan. Unfortunately the problem is so wide spread it will always be there, but every little thing helps. A couple of groups that are against child labor are the ILO (International Labor Organization,) ILRF (International Labor Rights Fund,) and ICFTU (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.) Also Pakistan has recently passed laws that limit child labor, but those laws are being ignored.

I think that child labor in Pakistan is a big deal. And I hope this has touched all you at kiwibox as much it did me when I was writing it. If only the world knew how big this problem was then more could be done to help stop child labor.

Submitted by Morgan H. from Toronto Canada