Child labour

Rapid assessment relating to child labour in garbage picking

The ILO Office for Pakistan convened a stakeholders’ validation workshop in Karachi to present the key findings and recommendations coming from rapid assessment relating to child labour in garbage picking in Pakistan.

Press release | Karachi, Pakistan | 18 September 2022
KARACHI (ILO News) - “Child labour has increased during COVID Pandemic, and the recent floods in Pakistan are going to push children into worst form of child labour. This deprives them of their childhood, their right to education and health, as well as putting the generations of poor families into debt bondage labour”, Mr Martin Dawson, Deputy Head of Mission-FCDO remarked in his keynote address at the Stakeholders’ workshop in Karachi. He further stressed that although Pakistan has formulated Policies and legislation in relation to child labour, the strict adherence to these laws is of prime importance.

The ILO Office for Pakistan convened a stakeholders’ validation workshop in Karachi to present the key findings and recommendations coming from rapid assessment relating to child labour in garbage picking in Pakistan. The workshop drew the participation of a diverse group of 40 stakeholders representing the Department of Labour and Human Resource Sindh, Pakistan Workers Federation, Employers' Federation of Pakistan, Social Welfare Department and Child Protection Authority, Government of Sindh, Members of Sindh Provincial Assembly, police officers, Bureau of Statistics, Sindh Solid Waste Management Board, Legal Rights Forum, academia, civil society, UN agencies, development partners and media. The workshop was hosted by ILO’s Asia Regional Child Labour (ARC) Project, funded by Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Mr Giovanni Soledad, Chief Technical Advisor of the ARC Project, commenced the workshop by welcoming the dynamic group of stakeholders. He narrated, “child labour is a complex issue, which cannot be simply eradicated through elimination of poverty”. There is a larger ecosystem at work, which relates to the waste management system. He remarked that we need to see the bigger picture and analyse the effects of migration, family based work, poverty and, waste management system and thereby collaborate with each other, think outside the box and create solutions that have long lasting impacts, addressing the heart of the problem.

Ms. Munawar Sultana, the National Project Coordinator of the ARC Project, briefly shared the progress of ARC Project, objectives of the workshop, painted a picture of the current circumstances and the national and provincial efforts for addressing the menace of child labour. She encouraged the participants to provide their valuable inputs for enriching the findings. She also urged the for taking active part in the group work and bring viable actions for the implementation of recommended areas.

Mr Amir Murtaza, ILO Consultant briefly presented the key findings of the rapid assessment relating to child labour in garbage picking which entailed the characteristics and working conditions, recruitment patterns, main hazards and exposure to violence and socio-economic environment, main factors that push children into garbage picking and a set of recommendations on how to prevent and eliminate child labour in garbage picking. He reflected that the prime focus should be on the area of education, undocumented Afghan refugees, effective waste management system, and social protection programs. He also underscored the need for public-private partnerships, designing and pilot testing of community-based waste management and recycling program to provide green job and or enterprise to child garbage pickers. He urged to engage with the junkyard owners and representatives of local recycling industry to minimize the exploitation and hazards, faced by child garbage pickers.

The participants in four groups deliberated on the key areas and recommended various legislative reforms, actions including multi-stakeholders engagement for initiating innovative models for effective waste management, converting garbage into gold, promoting green jobs and improved working conditions for child garbage pickers.

Mr Nizam Insaaf, ILO Technical Specialist, Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in his concluding remarks emphasized that merely participation and views may not be sufficient, but all actors and stakeholders need to come together to bring more collective and overall solutions through, which Child Labour could be eradicated’. Thereby, he accentuated on overall holistic solution, where everyone gives others space to work, and coordinate and collaborate with other relevant organizations

The workshop concluded on the vote of thanks by Mr Saghir Bukhari, Senior Programme Officer, ILO Office for Pakistan.