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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

ED: Making sure the children are protected

It is imperative that we prioritize and invest in our children, and in turn the country’s future

Update : 13 Jun 2020, 09:10 PM

As the pandemic rages on, growing poverty makes child labour an increasingly grave concern.

Although Bangladesh has seen a steady improvement in this area, the coronavirus crisis might lead to the first increase in child labour after 20 years of progress. Children who are already employed in various kinds of work are now at greater risk of facing worse working conditions, exploitation, and abuse from their employers.

On the other hand, as lower-income families see their meagre incomes shrivel in the face of Covid-19, sending even more of their children to work might be the last resort for many.

Under no circumstances is this acceptable. It is true that the families themselves are often the victims in these cases, in that they have no other option if they do not want to sink deeper into poverty, and so are at little fault. Therefore, the protection of children from heightened exploitation must be handled on a national level.

According to the Director-General of ILO, “social protection is vital,” and a plan to tackle the growing concerns surrounding child labour must include integrating the issue at hand into broader policies for education, social protection, justice, labour markets, and international human and labour rights.

A holistic approach is the only way to handle an issue as prevalent and deep-rooted in our country as child labour.

The latest budget has allocated Tk676 crore to the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, which is an increase from last year’s Tk665 crore. While this is certainly a step in the right direction, we must do better, because children are now in greater danger than ever.

It is imperative that we prioritize and invest in our children, and in turn the country’s future. Let us not forget that the protection of the most vulnerable comes before all else.

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