The government is putting all-out efforts to eliminate hazardous child labour from the country to ensure children’s rights
Two more hazardous sectors of the country – cold storage and pharmaceuticals – are going to be declared child labour-free soon, as part of the government’s initiative to eradicate child labour from all sectors by 2025.
Additional Inspector General of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments Md Ejaz Ahmed Jaber confirmed the matter.
“Now, there are 38 hazardous sectors. We have a plan to include six more sectors, including child labour in the dried fish sector, as hazardous for children,” Ejaz said.
Talking to BSS, Labour and Employment Secretary KM Abdus Salam said the government is putting all-out efforts to eliminate hazardous child labour from the country to ensure children’s rights in order to build a healthy nation.
He mentioned that the authorities have a plan to expand the list of sectors considered as hazardous labour as per the decision of the Tripartite Consultancy Committee (TCC) meeting.
Joint Inspector General of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments Dr Md Mostafizur Rahman said that they have already submitted a proposal to the ministry to declare the two new sectors as child labour-free.
After evaluating and maintaining all steps, the government will declare the two sectors as child labour-free, he added.
Earlier, the government has declared eight sectors -- tannery, glass, ceramic, ship recycling, export-oriented leather and footwear, sericulture, RMG and shrimp-- as child labour-free.
Project Director of the Child Labour Improvement in Bangladesh (CLIMB) Project under WINROCK International AHM Zaman Khan said that child labour is increasing alarmingly in various risky sectors, including dried fish village, across the country.
“If we cannot eliminate the risky child labour, worthy citizens will not come from poor families in future,” he added.
Civic Engagement and Capacity Development Specialist of the CLIMB project Md Tanvir Sharif said, despite many successes of the government and national and international organizations in various labour intensive sectors, child labour in the dried fish sector still requires more attention as it is one of the worst forms of child labour.
“Children working in this sector are exposed to hazardous chemicals, saline water for hours and they work in adverse working conditions.”
They work more than nine hours in a hazardous environment without any protective gear and experience skin diseases and respiratory problems. More importantly, the children have less attendance in schools, he added.
He also mentioned that a study estimates that there are a total of 14,366 workers in the DFS of which 63% are adult females, 17% are adult males and 20% are children. 72% of the child workers in the DFS are girl, he added.
He furthermore said most of the children are aged 14-17 (59%) but a substantial portion is under 14 (41%). Of these working children, 72% work on a daily basis and the rest are contractual.