Children of this country are now more vulnerable than ever to exploitation
The pandemic has turned the world upside down, and aside from the obvious toll it has taken on public health, with lives lost and health care facilities stretched to breaking point, there have been alarming ramifications for children in Bangladesh. Children, especially, children from poor backgrounds, have suffered immensely. Many have been forced to drop out of school and go into child labour. If this keeps up, it may undo all the progress we have made in child rights in recent years.
Bangladesh used to have a target to end hazardous child labour by this year, but this is nowhere in sight. Quite the opposite, the child labour scenario is getting worse day by day, and our goal of getting rid of child labour from the country may have to be pushed back to 2025.
It is highly disturbing to note that a recent report from Educo Bangladesh claims that approximately 72.33% of working children have claimed that they must work to help make ends meet. A latest UN report has warned that the pandemic may push millions more children into labour.
This is supposed to be a celebratory year for Bangladesh, as it marks 50 years for us a nation. But while we celebrate, we must be realistic. Yes, a tremendous amount of progress has been made, but progress is a fragile thing. Covid-19 has pushed many into poverty, and it has reversed gains made in the past. Children of this country are now more vulnerable than ever to exploitation.
We must not neglect them. The government must do all it can to end the scourge of child labour and exploitation because children are, after all, the future of any nation.