Child Labour in Bangladesh Industry

Bangladesh is a south Asian country. It is also known as a part of the third world country. Bangladesh has a unstable economy, and in the 21st century we are still dependent on our agricultural economic structure. We are trying quite hard to put an impact in the world economic system. For this we are pursuing the trend of the modernization of the western world. Still we are facing the economic instability. Changing the aspect of our industrialization and economic perspective we are trying our best to fit in the world economic system. To the economic system we are the agriculture based third world country, trying to reach the top.

To be an active member of the world economic system we needed an industrial revolution, as once European countries had. And now these days we are trying to become a manufacturing industrialized country.

We are quite long way from the capitalist mode of production and we are showing all the negative factors of the industrialization. Among those the child labour problem is the worst of its kind. Though In Bangladesh the unemployment rate is about 6.2 corer but in the labour force the child labour is very alarming.

8 % of children (5-14 years) in child labour (1999-2003)

10% of male children (5-14 years) in child labour (1999-2003)

5% of female children (5-14 years) in child labour (1999-2003)

These are the situation according to UNICEF about the child labor position in Bangladesh. Later we shall discuss the other aspect of this phenomenon.

What is child labour?:

"Child labour" defines an extremely complex set of phenomena. In many countries, part-time work is a fact of life for many children and is neither exploitative nor detrimental to the child's development. In combating child labour, it is necessary, therefore, to consider carefully its various forms, making a distinction between work and exploitation, and analyzing the developmental and cultural contexts. Canada, for example, has not signed the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Minimum Age Convention. It is widely agreed that exploitative child labour is strongly associated with poverty. The countries with the highest illiteracy rates, lowest school enrolment ratios and serious nutritive deficiencies are in general those that have the highest proportions of children working.

The phenomenon of child exploitation is equally complex. It is not necessarily linked to poverty alone and may be associated with low levels of development, lack of educational opportunities and certain cultural traditions. Solutions such as the imposition of a minimum wage or compulsory education, which ignore economic, social and cultural factors underlying child labour, run the risk of worsening the situation of children. Unless some alternative is provided for the children and their families, many children dismissed from work will be left to fend for themselves in the streets or will take up more hazardous employment.

Child work can be expected to decrease gradually with higher levels of development. However, the eradication of specific forms of child exploitation and a massive reduction in child labour can only be achieved through political commitment, specific policies and development programmes CHILDREN of the age of 5-14 years, employed to work for pay or profit, or without pay, in a FAMILY enterprise or organisations. Economic hardships of many families force most of their children to get involved in income generating activities.

About one-tenth of global children population under 15 years of age work in various occupations, some of which are hazardous. Most of these children grow and live in absolute POVERTY and deprivation. They do not get opportunities to acquire education and skills to ensure a better life for them-selves. Child labour was first recognized as a social problem with the introduction of factories in the late 18th century in Great Britain. In the eastern and mid-western United States, child labour was acknowledged as a problem after the Civil War, and in the South, after 1910. In earlier days, children worked as apprentices in factories or as servants in families, but in factories their employment soon turned into virtual SLAVERY.

This was mitigated in Britain by acts of parliament enacted in 1802 and later years, in other places of industrialized Europe. Although most European nations had child labour laws by 1940, the urgency of production during World War II brought many children back into the labour market. In the United States, the Supreme Court declared Congressional child labour laws unconstitutional in 1918 and 1922. A constitutional amendment was passed in Congress in1924 but it was not approved by many states.

The First Labour Standards Act of 1938 set a minimum age limit of 18 for occupations designated hazardous and 16 for employment in general. The International Labor Organization, or the ILO, defines child labor as "some types of work" done by children under the age of 18. The ILO also says that child labor includes full-time work done by children under 15 years of age that prevents them from going to school (getting an education), or that is dangerous to their health. Child labour and World industry sector:

Around the world, approximately 250 million children are child laborers .According to the new estimates, there are some 250 million children 5-14 years old who are toiling in economic activity in developing countries. For close to one-half of them (or 120 million), this work is carried out on a full time basis, while for the remaining one-half it is combined with schooling or other non-economic activities. Among school going children, up to one-third of the boys (33%) and more than two-fifths (42%) of the girls are also engaged in economic activities on a part-time basis. The overall estimates of 250 million working children are exclusive of children who are engaged in regular non-economic activities, including those who provide services of domestic nature on a full-time basis in their own parents' or guardians' households.

The number of such children is relatively large (about 15%-20% of the total child population of the same age-cohort). For obvious reasons, child labour is most prevalent in the developing regions of the globe. In absolute terms, it is Asia (excluding Japan), as the most densely populated region of the world, that has the most child workers (approximately 61% of the world's total as compared with 32 % in Africa, 7% in Latin America and the Caribbean, and one-fifth of one per cent in Oceania excluding Australia and New Zealand). But in relative terms, Africa comes first in economic activity participation rate of children which is estimated at a little more than two children out of five (or 41%) of the total children 5-14 years old.

The corresponding proportion in Asia is around one-half of the level in Africa (i.e., more than one in five children or 22%), and it is one in six (or 17%) in Latin America, and close to one in three (29%) in Oceania. In all regions, more boys than girls participate in economic activity. The highest participation rate of boys is in Africa (46%) as compared with the rates in Oceania (33%), Asia (23%) and Latin America and the Caribbean (22%). The gender differential in the rates is greatest in Latin America (22% for boys to 11% for the girls), followed by Africa (46% to 37%, respectively, and the latter is also the highest participation rate of girls by region); and Oceania (33% to 26%). The differential between boys and girls participation rates is smallest in Asia (23% to 20%).

Bangladeash and child labour: Child labour is not illegal in Bangladesh, although the law discourages employment of children below 14 years of age in factories. Children aged 5-14 years are found working in households, fields and factories as paid or unpaid labour. The rights of children are neglected in Bangladesh. Increasing abuse and infringement of children's rights have triggered off a concern over it. A dense population, limited resources, and frequent natural calamities complicate the poverty situation in Bangladesh and children are the worst victims.

There is a number of laws and acts relating to the protection and welfare of children in Bangladesh. The Minimum Wages Ordinance (1961) provides for payment of minimum wages to all workers including juveniles and prohibits employers from paying juveniles (below 18 years) less than the minimum rates fixed by the Board set up under this ordinance. The Shops and Establishments Act (1965) prohibits employment of children below 12 years in shops and commercial establishments. The Act also regulates the working hours of persons below 18 years.

The Factories Act (1965) prohibits employment of persons below 14 years in dangerous occupations and lays down regulations for a secure and healthy working condition for a child or adolescent. The Act also provides for crèche facilities in a factory for female workers' children below 6 years. The Children's Act (1974) and Children's Rules (1976) protect children's interests during all kinds of legal processes. The Act provides for separate juvenile courts and forbids a joint trial of an adult and child offender even when an offence has been jointly committed. It lays down measures for the care and protection of destitute and neglected children.

The Mines Act (1923) prohibits employment of a person below 15 years of age in any mine and regulates employment of youths between 15 and 17 years of age. The Employment of Children Act (1938) prohibits employment of children in certain occupations in railways and ports, and in selling goods on railway cars or buses or within the limits of any port. The Children (Pledging of Labour) Act (1933) declares void an agreement to pledge the labour of a child below 15 years.

The usual scenario in Bangladesh sees girl children engaged in activities within the inner 'female' spheres, whereas boys work in the outer 'male' spaces. This frequently results in high ratios of school dropout amongst girls. The potential labour power of children is a significant aspect for families as the survival of households depends on their ability to reproduce themselves. The perceived economic value attached to children greatly encourages people to raise large families. Expectations of assistance from children arise from the deep-rooted concept of sharing the burden amongst the adult members of the family.

Early participation in income generating activities compels children to experience a first transition through different stages of their childhood; this transition is important in conceptualizing children's productive life cycles. Analysis of data generated in the 1991 census and of the trends in the subsequent years suggest that approximately 19% of the total child population (5-14 years) of Bangladesh work as child labour. The proportion is much higher in case of boys (22%) than in case of girls (16%). About 83% of the children employed as child labour work in rural areas and the rest work in urban areas and the ratio is almost the same for both boys and girls.

About 65% of the child labour work in agriculture and 8.5% of them work in manufacturing. There is little variation in distribution of child labour by girls and boys in these two sectors. But gender distribution of child labour in TRANSPORT and communication shows that the proportion of boys to total child labour in this sector is 3%, while that of girls to the same is only 0.1%. Average weekly working hours for child labour in Bangladesh is roughly half of those for adult workers. The wages, or monthly income of the working children, however, are about one-third of those for the latter. Slightly more than 20% households of Bangladesh have working children of age 5-14 years. The corresponding figure for urban households is 17% and for rural households, it is 23%.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 1999, the ILO estimated that 28.2 percent of children between ages 10 and 14 in Bangladesh were working. According to child labor survey conducted in 1995 by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, in cooperation with ILO's statistical agency 1995, the majority of working children were boys; most working children did not participate in schooling; and child labor was predominantly found in rural areas.

Children are found working in a variety of hazardous occupations and sectors, including bidi factories, construction, tanneries, and the seafood and garment industries. Children also work as domestic servants, porters, and street vendors, and are found working on commercial tea farms. Children are reported to be sexually exploited as prostitutes. It is estimated that over 20,000 women and children are trafficked from Bangladesh each year, often for forced labor or prostitution.

In 1991, the Government of Bangladesh made primary education compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 10. In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 96.5 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 81.4 percent. Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Bangladesh. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school. Hazardous Child Labour:

Any comprehensive program, designed to eliminate child labour, should address on a priority basis the most intolerable forms of child labour. In 1995 the Ministry of Labour and Manpower in collaboration with UNICEF undertook a study, entitled "Hazardous Child Labour in Bangladesh" to identify the hazardous economic activities involving children. This study identified the following 27 economic activities as hazardous: 1.Automobile workshop worker

2.Battery re-charging shop worker

3.Bedding manufacturing worker 4.Blacksmith 5.Brick/stone crushing 6.Car painting/metal furniture painting/spray painting works 7.Child prostitution 8.Construction 9.Dyeing workshop worker 10.Electric mechanic 11.Engineering workshop worker 12.Goldsmith's assistant 13.Hotel/Mess cook 14.Laundry boy 15.Porter 16.Printing press worker 17.Rickshaw/rickshaw van puller 18.Saw mill worker 19.Small soap factory worker (crude process) 20.Sweeper 21.Scavenger (waste pickers) 22.Tannery factory worker 23.Tempo/truck/bus helper/unlicensed tempo driver 24.Welding worker 25.Shrimp processing factory worker (processing by hand) 26.Vulcanising workshop assistant 27.Vangari (splinter/waste collectors and processors).

The hazards, associated with these activities, were largely due to: exposure to flames, working with electricity, exposure to harmful chemical substances, carcinogens, neurotoxins, gases, fumes and organic dust, handling garbage, high-speed machinery, inappropriate hand tools, sharp equipment, extreme heat or cold, insufficient light, heavy loads, continuous working with ice and water without gloves and stressful working conditions. In many cases the children were found working without adequate safety measures; they did not use gloves, protective shields and masks. When personal protective equipment did not fit children, they had to use alternative devices that did not provide real protection, such as handkerchiefs to cover their nose and mouth.

The activities and workplaces that were discovered to be most hazardous included bedding manufacturing shops, blacksmiths', making bricks or stone chips, printing press, welding, scavenging, plastic and rubber factories, shrimp processing, engineering workshops and bidi factories. Child workers in urban Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, urban working children either live on the street or in overcrowded slum and squatter settlements. There are 700,000 children under the age of 15 working in urban areas, which is 17 per cent of the total urban labour force. The work in industry, transport, commerce, domestic service, metal & leather factories, construction and in garment factories.

65 per cent of the total labour forces in Bangladesh of 50.1 million work in agriculture. In rural areas, almost a children work o some extent so the statistics on child labour are imprecise. Most children work for their families-the boys in agriculture and the girls mainly working at home. Those families, who are landless, work for rural landowners with their children working along side them in the fields.

Most families in rural areas, who are better off financially, use children in their homes as domestic helpers and for cattle tending and other agriculture work. Children also work in small shops, tea stalls, handloom and bin' factories and the fishing industry. Most working children do not have the opportunity to attend school. There is a large scale adult unemployment in Bangladesh, so, one wonders why child labour exists. Some studies over the past few years have put forward the following reasons:

1. Poverty and family size In Bangladesh the average family size is six persons. In families where children work, the father often works as either a rickshaw puller or day laborer and the mother as a domestic help. Poverty leads to quarrels; tension and can ultimately result in cruel treatment of children. The mother, being over burdened with work, can loose interest in her children and neglect them. 56% per cent of people of Bangladesh are landless. They either work on the land of others on a contact basis, or become floating labour moving from place to place. Without a stable income the children become a burden to parents and must find work for their own survival. 2. Victims of migration

In general, neglected children migrate to big cities with their families or alone. Often they must beg or drift on the streets in order to earn a living and will consider any work that helps them survive. 3. Illiteracy & ignorance

Many parents of working children are illiterate and unskilled with little prospect of being able to improve their situation. There is a lack of faith in the existing education system as it does not necessarily lead to employment. Many poor parents feel that it is better for their children to learn by working rather than sending them to school. 4 Child labour law and rights

In practice, child labour laws in Bangladesh do not protect working children. Employers prefer children as they are cheap, productive and obedient. Children working in the industrial sector have no contract of employment and so find it difficult to stand up for themselves and fight for their rights. The demand by factories for child labourers is increasing all the time. 5. Family breakdown

Migration of families, broken families, parental abuse and abandonment, all lead to child labour. 6. Natural calamities Floods, land erosion, cyclones etc., have a devastating affect on many area of Bangladesh every year. This further increases the pressures on poor families and leads to many new children entering the labour force. Working children are used and exploited for the benefit of the better-off sector of society. This is not really deliberate exploitation of children by the wealthy, but rather reflects the attitude of society, of children as a source of cheap labour.

Child workers are always faced with bad working conditions, unfixed wages, health hazards, lack of recreation and are exposed to mental, physical and sexual harassment. Child labour is prohibited in Bangladesh under the Employment of Children Act, 1938; The Children (Pledging of Labour) Act, 1933; The Factories Act, 1965; The Plantations Labour Ordinance, 1962 and The Shops and Establishment Act, 1965.

All these laws prohibit the employment of children below 14 years of age. In spite of these laws, children can be found working in garment factories, hotels, brick making, biri factories, mechanical workshops, match factories, agricultural work, domestic work, and as garbage collectors and touts on buses and tampos. In Bangladesh, children work because they and their families are poor and so there is no immediate prospect of eliminating child labour. But that does not mean that nothing can be done. The priority must be to ensure that children are excluded from dangerous and physically demanding work. Children are the future leaders of our nation. By neglecting their basic rights and hampering their process of growth, we are restricting the development of our country.

Causes of child labour in Bangladesh: 0 000000 00000 Supply factors: Poverty is the single most important factor responsible for the prevalence of child labour in the country. About 55 million people live below the poverty line in Bangladesh. Poor households badly need the money that their children earn. They commonly contribute around 20-25 percent of family income. Since poor households spend the bulk of their income on food, the earnings of working children are critical to their survival. 0 000000 00000

Parents' perceptions greatly influence their children's participation in the labour force. The education system of the country in general does not provide poor, disadvantaged children with any immediate prospects of better jobs or higher levels of income. The curriculum, followed in schools, is hardly perceived to be capable of meeting the practical needs of poor families.

Naturally, poor parents fail to appreciate the long-term value of education, and instead opt for the short-term economic gains of child labour. In many cases, the male children of the household are expected to help the father in the field and the female children the mother with the household work. Moreover, parents consider their children's employment in certain occupations like in the engineering workshop as a rare opportunity to learn employable skills. To them, it is an alternative education with much more practical value than the traditional primary education. 0 000000 00000

Even though the government launched the Compulsory Primary Education Program all over the country since January 1993, education remains very expensive for a poor family, which is expected to bear the costs of uniform and transportation. In some areas of the country the expenditure on primary level students represents one-third of the entire income of a typical poor family, though most families have more than one child of the school-going age. Many children are, therefore, forced to work to pay for their own education. 0 000000 00000

Emergencies often contribute to an increase in the supply of child labour. Bangladesh happens to be a land of chronic natural calamities. Floods, cyclones and riverbank erosion render many people homeless and helpless every year. Low-income families have little margin to cope with any such disaster. They also find it very difficult to deal with the distress resulting from abandonment or divorce, or the injury and illness of an adult member of the household. As a result, trapped early in the world of work, children of such families become the worst victims of any kind of disaster, natural or man-made. 0 000000 00000

Demand factors: The lower cost of employing child workers and the irreplaceable skills provided by them are often cited to explain the demand for child labour. Although there is validity in the first argument, the second does not hold water. In all the industries that rely heavily on child labour, most of the tasks performed by children are also performed by adults working side by side with them.

Clearly, children do not have irreplaceable skills. The other factors, responsible for the demand for child labour, seem to be non-economic. Employers are tempted to hire child labour because children are much less aware of their rights and most unlikely to get organised in trade unions. They are also more trustworthy, more willing to take orders and do monotonous work, and less likely to be absent from work. Children's lower absentee rate is immensely valuable to employers in the informal sector where workers are employed on a daily basis and the employers must ensure the presence of a full contingent of workers each day.

00000000000 Magnitude of child labour in Bangladesh : 0 0 000000 00000 Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) in the "National Sample Survey of Child Labour in Bangladesh: 1995-96" defined child labourers as children in the age group of 5-14 years who were found to be working during the survey reference period (preceding 12 months of the day of survey). A child was said to work if he or she was found either working one or more hours for pay or profit or working without pay in a family farm or enterprise during the reference period, or was found not working but had a job or business from which he or she was temporarily absent during the reference period.

According to BBS the number of child labourers was 6.6 million in 1995-96. 19 percent of the total child population (5-14 years) was found to be economically active. 11.6 percent of the child labour force belonged to the 5-9 age group and the rest to the 10-14 age group. 95.6 percent of the child labour force was employed. Of the employed child workers, males constituted 59.8 percent and females 40.2 percent.

Child workers were scattered all over the country. 17 percent of the child labour force lived in the urban areas and the rest in the rural areas. Child workers were present in almost all the sectors of the economy with the exception of mining and utilities. Agriculture accounted for 65.4 percent of the child workers, followed by services (10.3 percent), manufacturing (8.2 percent) and transport and communication (1.8 percent). Other activities including household work accounted for 14.3 percent of working children. 0 000000 00000

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) in the "National Sample Survey of Child Labour in Bangladesh: 1995-96" defined child laborers as children in the age group of 5-14 years who were found to be working during the survey reference period (preceding 12 months of the day of survey). A child was said to work if he or she was found either working one or more hours for pay or profit or working without pay in a family farm or enterprise during the reference period, or was found not working but had a job or business from which he or she was temporarily absent during the reference period.

According to BBS the number of child labourers was 6.6 million in 1995-96. 19 percent of the total child population (5-14 years) was found to be economically active. 11.6 percent of the child labour force belonged to the 5-9 age group and the rest to the 10-14 age group. 95.6 percent of the child labour force was employed. Of the employed child workers, males constituted 59.8 percent and females 40.2 percent. Child workers were scattered all over the country. 17 percent of the child labour force lived in the urban areas and the rest in the rural areas.

Child workers were present in almost all the sectors of the economy with the exception of mining and utilities. Agriculture accounted for 65.4 percent of the child workers, followed by services (10.3 percent), manufacturing (8.2 percent) and transport and communication (1.8 percent). Other activities including household work accounted for 14.3 percent of working children.

Measure to prevent child labour

The Government of Bangladesh has been a member of ILO-IPEC since 1994. Soon after, a child labor survey was conducted in 1995 by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics with technical assistance from the ILO's statistical agency. The ILO-IPEC program in Bangladesh has implemented 75 action programs targeting the worst forms of child labor through awareness raising, non-formal education, income generating alternatives for families, and capacity building of partner organizations.

These programs include USDOL-funded projects to eliminate child labor in the garment sector and in five hazardous industries, including bid is construction, leather tanneries, matches, and child domestic services. In 2000, USDOL also provided funding for a follow-up national child labor survey to be conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics with technical assistance from ILO-IPEC's SIMPOC.

Bangladesh is one of three countries that participate in the ILO-IPEC South Asia Sub-Regional Programme to Combat Trafficking in Children for Exploitative Employment (funded by USDOL). The Bangladesh Ministry of Labor, with the support of USAID, is implementing projects to combat child labor in selected hazardous industries. To combat trafficking, the Department of Social Services under the Ministry of Welfare is implementing a project for socially disadvantaged women and children, that specifically assists sex workers. The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs has a child trafficking project to rescue and rehabilitate trafficked children and to raise awareness about the issue.

In order to promote education and increase enrollment, the Government of Bangladesh and the WFP implemented a Food for Education Program in 1993, which gives families wheat or rice in exchange for sending their children to school. In April 2000, the government began a stipend program that provides 20 taka (USD 0.36) per month to mothers of poor households as an incentive to send their children to school. The government collaborates with UNICEF on the Basic Education for Hard to Reach Urban Children's Project (BEHTRUC) that provides two-year basic literacy education to working children living in poor, urban areas.

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment varies according to sector. The Employment of Children Act prohibits children less than 12 years of age from working in areas such as tanning as well as bidi, carpet, cloth, cement, and fireworks manufacturing, and it prohibits children less than 15 years old from working in railways. The Mines Act prohibits children under 15 years old from working in mines. The Factories Act and Rules establishes 14 years as the minimum age for employment in factories, and the Children Act of 1974 prohibits the employment of children less than 16 years as beggars and in brothels.

There are no specific laws covering the informal sectors, such as agriculture and domestic work, although the majority of child workers fall under these categories. The Constitution forbids all forms of forced labor. The Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act prohibits importing women for the purposes of prostitution. The Oppression of Women and Children Act of 1995 prohibit the trafficking of women and girls, and the selling or hiring of girls less than 18 years for prostitution.

The Ministry of Labor and Employment is designated to enforce labor legislation; however, there are no penalties for breaking child labor laws. Due to a lack of manpower, child labor laws are seldom enforced outside of the garment export industry. The Government of Bangladesh has not ratified ILO Convention 138, but ratified ILO Convention 182 on March 12, 2001.

Case study of child labour in Bangladesh industry

Child labor is very common in Bangladesh society as we have a lion's share of the population lives below the poverty line. And most family comes from the rural area to make a living in the urban arena. But the exclusive lifestyle cost almost every penny they saved by selling the last possession. As a result they have no way of returning the village, every capable member must work to feed themselves in a daily basis, which include child from very early age.

Below some child labour case study is provided to show the intensity of the child labour in Bangladeshi industry:

CASE STUDY 1: Tannery industry:

Dhaka Hazaribagh arena is the tannery industrial area. According to the Hazaribagh Tannery Workers Union (HTWU) approximately 267 child works in the tannery. The number may increase as there are few unregistered child worker in the industry. There is law prohibiting child labour, under the age of 14.According the Factory Law of 1965, as it strictly forbids engaging a child in factory works under the age of 14. But the laws go vain, as the parents provides the facility to put their child in hard working job and some owner of the factory are taking the chance of this situation. Because they can get their job done at half price with a child worker. According to HTWU, they are trying hard to put away the misery of children, but the poverty stricken people has no choice but to send their child in search of meal.

The HTWU provides the information, there are 120 registered tanneries in Hazaribagh and among them the large and medium ones don't engaged child labour. But the small ones do not have that much of capital, so they use child as the cheap sources of labour. Working in a tannery is a hazardous job for both the adult and child without providing the safety procedure. The child work in this region is quite desperate to provide their family food and shelter, as a result of this they do not hesitate to put their last effort in the job:

•Mohammed Farouque, 10 years old works in a tannery in Hazaribagh. His monthly income is around 400 taka. Working in the factory for 8 months, provides his family some relief of burden of cost.

•14 years old, Iqbal Hossain , working in the tannery for two years, earning 700 taka per month contribute to his six members family and half of the rent. A son of a riksha pullar is aware of this illegal labour force but has no other choice but to work.

•Mohammed Rubel, 12 years old, earning around 700 taka per month, joined with his uncle. Providing meal for his family.

•Zahid Mian, 13 years old, lives in Bashbari, mohammedpur, working in tannery for 3 years, he earns around 1000 taka. He washes the raw skin with chemical, which is very hazardous. His earning provides the meal of his five members family.

•Ashraf, 15 year old working in tannery for 3 years, though he is no more a child labour according the law, but still, working under low wage in daily basis. He has to work 8 hours in a row.

CASE STUDY 2: Garment industry

There are many incidents of child working in the garments factory. Especially female child, In Bangladesh around USAID (2000) reported that "of the estimated 16 million children in Bangladesh aged 10 to 14, over 6.8 are working children." Of this quantity of children, 41 percent are girls. Though the International Labor Organization (ILO) has set forth specific rules and regulations regarding child labor, they are far from being properly enforced. In the garment industry most female start working from the age 9. According to a statistics there may be around 17000+ female child labours working in the garments. On 4 July 1995 Bangladesh created history by signing a MoU on elimination of child labor from the garment sector.

It was the culmination of long and arduous negotiations with ILO and Unicef and concentrated effort of BGMEA. BGMEA takes pride in declaring the garment sector of Bangladesh child labor free since 1 November 1996.The main objective of such a program of BGMEA with active collaboration of Unicef and ILO is to establish the basic right of the children by rehabilitating and providing elementary schools for the under age workers eliminated from the garment factories. Until recently the garment industry was the biggest source of employment for child workers in the formal sector.

A 1991 study entitled "The Conditions of Garment Workers in Bangladesh" found 13 percent of the workers to be working children. About a third of the child workers were in fact school dropouts. Child workers were mostly employed as sewing helpers (66 percent) and finishing helpers (15 percent). These were the lowest paid jobs in the garment factories. The monthly wage averaged 500 taka for sewing helpers and 585 taka for finishing helpers. Finishing helpers worked 13 hours a day and sewing helpers 11 hours a day. During peak seasons child workers had to work even during weekly holidays. The joint BGMEA/ILO/Unicef survey for identification of child labor in the garment factories of Bangladesh completed in 1995.

All export oriented garment factories were visited and 10546 child workers, bellow the age of 14, were identified. Though in november1,1996 BGMEA declared Bangladesh garment arena free of child labour but in truth it is a long story. Still there are many child labour working in the garments; They are suffering from various problematic situations in the workplace, Low wage, health problem, sexual harassment, etc. •Afsana, 12 years old, is working for 3 years in the garments for 750 taka. Have to work for 13 hours a day. And whenever she missed a day's work the authority cut off her payment.

•Arzu, 14 years, is also working in a garment for 3 years. Her monthly income is about 950 •Which she uses to pay for the rent. She has a family 7 members, and her earnings are not enough to provide meal for the family.

•Meeru,(15) though her real age is only12, earns 850 taka and has to work for 16 hours a day. She is not happy with her present situation, but has no other alternative.

Most of the garments in Bangladesh have so many problems, and the children are the least lucky among the workers. As they are the one being exploited the most by the higher food chain. All the hopes and dreams are being shattered by the exploitation of the profit-seeker.

CASE STUDY 3:Child domestic workers:

Child domestic service is a widespread practice in Bangladesh. Although children are employed as domestics throughout the country, they have overwhelmingly high concentration in the cities. "The Rapid Assessment of Child Labour Situation in Bangladesh" (1996) estimated that in the city of Dhaka alone there were about 300,000 child domestics. In one semi-residential, typical city area with markets and roadside workshops, namely Moghbazar, Dhaka, out of 1181 child workers, domestic helpers numbered 770. 0 000000 00000

Employers in the urban areas usually recruit children from their village homes through family, friends or contacts. Most of the child domestic workers come from the most vulnerable families, many of them being orphans or abandoned children. A good number of them are from the single-parent families. Many poor parents consider themselves extremely fortunate for having been able to send their children to work for urban families. 0 000000 00000

The majority of child domestics tend to be between 12 and 17 years old, but children as young as 5 or 6 years old can also be found working. A survey of child domestic workers found that 38 percent were 11 to 13 years old and nearly 24 percent were 5 to 10 years old. 0 000 00000000

Child domestics work very long hours, getting up well before their employers and going to bed long after them. On an average 50 percent of the child domestic workers work 15-18 hours a day. Irrespective of their gender, child domestics carry out all sorts of household work. In addition, boys often perform tasks like going to the grocery, cleaning the drain, taking the garbage to roadside bins, escorting the children to school and washing the car. Girls, on the other hand, have to iron the clothes, attend phone calls and serve the guests. 0 000000 00000

The domestics are usually given the same type of food as the employers, but they are given much less. Their employers usually take care of their daily necessities like clothes, oil, soap, comb, towel, bedding and sleeping materials. Education for child domestics, stood at 31 percent for girls and 37 percent for boys. The child domestic workers are often the least paid in the society, their remuneration ranging from 80 taka to 400 taka per month. In most of the cases they hand over all their earnings to their parents, leaving nothing for themselves.

Case study 4: Glass Factory worker:

Near Mohammedpur Bas stand there is a glass factory, where abundance number of child worker works, all of them ageing from 8-13. Though their job is not bone shattering hard work but still they work in a repellent hazardous environment. This factory is an natural gas propend workshop and the working environment is dangerous for both adult and children. Most of this child labour earns in a daily basis around 1.5 taka per bottle. There are about 26 child labours, in total of 73 workers.

All of them are around minority age-group. By interviewing some of them I was notified that, they start working at 6 a.m in the morning and sometimes the manager push them to work in the evening shift. Some of them go to school but most of them says their family puts no interest in their education. What they earn in this factory is not enough but it helps their family to survive. With their income their family managed to overcome a small part of bitter poverty.

Case study 5: Hotel and other working places:

Road side hotels and restaurants are the most common places for the child labour field. In Dhaka there are about 75,000 hotels and restaurants and in these small invested industry uses the cheap labour of the child, as they can be exploited and manipulated easily. In Mohammedpur area there are about 150 hotels and restaurants where a number of child labour is present. Most of them are boy\ waiter and they work in a low wage and long shift. Anu, 13 year old waiter, working for five years. He earns 750 taka. This is not enough. He spent the night in the hotel and in the end of the month he sends some money to his parent in village.

The same story goes in the life of Anwar (12) and Bilu (13) , they also goes for a long shift and earns very little.

Everywhere it is the same story about the child labour, exploitation and low wage are always the common factor in this area. All of them represent the whole country's child exploitation.

What we find around this study is that we have a Sevier problem of child labour in Bangladesh. Though there are some laws in the country but it is not enough to prevent the acuteness of this phenomena. This case study can be the pointer for the reality of the child labour in Bangladesh. To fight this child exploitation we all need to work hard and to preserve the essence of the child we must unite and regulate the laws that should be enforced.

To preserve the future of the country child labour need to be stopped. And steps should be taken for the phenomena. The children of the country need to be given their right to live with a future to build this country.


Beside the laws to hold the bars for the people of the country the greater mass awareness indeed a must have. There are many laws to prevent child labour but all of them need to be uphold. We must try to put this problem away, because a child is the future of the country. To be the future he needs to be trained with education not through exploitation.

We all shall put our best effort to stop this terrain which blacken the future of our country. Though it is illegal, but we must not forget that these child has family too, and their family dependent upon them. So, the working hour must be sacrificed for the child labour, and it needed to be watched that they do not get exploited. But still no one under 10 will be allowed to work exigent job. And it must be looked up that a child labour get full support from the workplace. For healthful child labour we may consider the followings:

•The working hour must cut down in comfortable position for the child labour. Instead of 10-13 hours the time limit must be 6-8 hours maximum.

•The low wage distribution policy needs to be changed.

•Sufficient security to be uphold for the female child worker.

•Strict child labour law need to be proceeded.

•Vocational training must be provided.

•Formal education need to be asserted.

And for most of all public and family awareness is the key to prevent the child labour from destroying the life of a child.

Reports on child labour:

1.child labour in Bangladesh.

A.N.M. Nurul Haque Daily Ittefaq Nov 25, 2004

Child labour is not a new issue in Bangladesh as children remain here one of the most vulnerable groups living under threats of hunger, illiteracy, displacement, exploitation, trafficking, physical and mental abuse. The survey, conducted by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, found that roughly one in 17 children, or 17.5 percent of total children of the 5-17 age group, was engaged in economic activities in 2002-03. There are about 42.4 million children of this age group in the country and 22.7 million of them are boys and 19.7 million are girls. Agricultural sector employed about 56 percent of total child workers, which was estimated at 7.6 million.

Production and transport sector engaged 25.4 percent of them while 14 percent were sales workers. The highest proportion of working children, some 49.5 percent, were engaged in unpaid economic activities in family farms or business. The second highest 28.6 percent were employed as paid day-labourers. These children are found engaged in household service and other activities.

In Bangladesh 67 percent of children work due to financial hardship, either to contribute labour for wages to supplement household incomes or to work at home so that adults can work outside. Nearly 70 percent of urban children of our country work outside of their family enterprises.

Many of these children are engaged in various hazardous occupations in manufacturing factories. Urban working children which was estimated 2.5 million, are found mostly in the formal working sector where they are often subjected to exploitative working conditions as well as physical and mental abuse. They are compelled to work for long working hours with inadequate or no rest period. Moreover, they are paid with minimum wages and enjoy no job security. Many people prefer to emplay young boys to get maximum services paying them minimum wages.

More than six million children of the 5-14 age group are reportedly engaged in various kinds of economic activities in Bangladesh. These children are working in manufacturing factories, engineering workshops, tanneries, construction sector, transport sector, beedi factories, restaurants and tea-stalls, maids and domestic servants and also in agricultural sector.

According to USAID, the children of Bangladesh are engaged in over 300 different types of activities of which 49 are considered harmful to their physical and mental well-being. Intolerable forms of child labour as categorised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) are hazardous occupations, slavery and near slavery, domestic services and sexual abuse. A UNICEF report said that some 40 industries in the country have been using child labour, where their jobs are highly hazardous and dangerous with little regard for health and safety. They employ young boys in their industries to have maximum services with minimum wages.

Child labour is a harsh reality in Bangladesh. Children under compulsion are engaged in highly hazardous jobs and also work under most unhygienic conditions. Any one visiting the ship-breaking yard at Sitakunda in Chittagong, will find that thousands of workers including many young children are working in a very dangerous condition. The child workers, many of whom as young as 10 years old, are working in ship breaking industry without any safety, which is horrific for them.

According to Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS), nearly two thousand child workers of the 10-14 age group are working in the ship breaking industries. Although most of these child workers work as helpers, as reported by their employers, the real situation is quite different. It is learnt that many of these child workers are compelled to carry heavy iron sheets on their shoulders. But a child worker is paid Tk 60 only for eight hours of work a day while an adult worker is paid between Tk 140 and 180 on an average.

Child labour also goes on highly hazardously at Dublar Char under the Sharankhola Range in east Sundarban Division, in gross violation of not only the Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC) but also the basic human rights.

A newspaper report said that several hundred young boys are undergoing forced labour at fish drying enterprises at Dublar Char. Brokers, who are popularly called majhi (boatman), supply the fish-drying farms with boys, mostly in their teens, from the southern districts of the country. In some cases, the boys are also captured from other regions who are forced to work against their will.

The owners of the fish-drying farms seldom pay the child labourers their due wages. A major portion of the amount, whatever they get as remuneration of their hard labour of day-night, are taken by the sardar (supervisor) under whom they have to work. If the boys fail to work as per the will of the sardar, they undergo severe physical torture. The child labourers are forced to do non-stop work to separate fish from the nets, standing in the saline water for hours together.

They also carry the fishes from the trawlers to the farms, which are not at all suitable for their age. The boys of poor families are easy prey to the brokers, who pay a small amount to their families in advance and also promise good salary and suitable working condition. But the boys find the real situation quite different from what the brokers had told them. The captive child labourers are also given inadequate food and there are no bed for them to sleep. The coast guard in collaboration with Forest Department and Police, rescued some child labourers from captivity recently.

Tanneries and other chemical factories also use child labour. Tannery and chemical factory owners prefer to employ children as they could pay them less and also able to keep their factories free from trade unionism. A child labour gets Taka 700 to 1000 per month, while an adult worker earns upto Taka 5000 per month.

The child workers have to come in close contact with chemicals like sulphuric acid, sodium sulphide and chromium while working in the tanneries. The contamination from these chemicals cause fever, cough, headache, gastric, skin diseases and other diseases to the workers, especially the children. The ILO under its International programme of Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) has identified 447 child workers under 15 working in 130 tanneries in Dhaka's Hazaribagh area and providing them non-formal education and training, so that they could quit the tanneries.

The children, who are working at match factories, construction sites, bidi factories and houses, are the worst sufferers in terms of working conditions, wages, physical and mental pressure, hygiene and abuse. The largest sector of child labourers in the country are the domestic helps. Almost all houses in the cities and towns employ small children as maids and boy servants. The proportion of child domestic workers in Bangladesh under theageoftenis24percent.

An estimated number of three lac child domestic workers work in different houses of Dhaka city. Our society considers this form of labour as less harmful to children from poor families than other forms. This may be true if they are placed in a good home where the child is treated mercifully but, if unlucky, the child could be just as easily subjected to severeabuse.

Child labour is the most severe form of child abuse and exploitation in our country. Bangladesh accounts for less than two percent of the world population. But this is the home to more than five percent of world's working child population numbering 120 million. Childhood is a period when children go to schools with books in their hands. But the ill-fated children of our country are being forced to give labour inhumanly only for the survival and financial help to the family members.

Moreover, a section of unscrupulous people in the money-dominated society are engaging these innocent children in different crimes including narcotic business and thus spoiling their lives at the very early stage. Although the issue of child labour has always been discussed, there is hardly any remarkable progress even in terms of mitigation. The government has launched a micro credit programme for child labour under a project named "Eradication of Hazardous Child Labour in Bangladesh" with a view to withdrawing the child labours from hazardous job. But the project has made no significant dent in the problem so far.

2.Manufacturing in Bangladesh and child labour: Richard Rothstein On a recent trip to Bangladesh, I interviewed adult and child factory workers who sew shirts, trousers, and nightgowns for American, German, and Italian manufacturers and retailers. I spoke with children, 8 to 11 years old, who work as "helpers," cutting threads and moving material. They often work 17 hour shifts, six and seven days a week, earn less than half Bangladesh's legal minimum wage (about 1000 Taka a month, equivalent to $25), and are not paid legally mandated compensation for overtime in excess of 48 hours a week. I met with adults who had worked in factories from age 11 or 12, but who have since been fired for demanding minimum wages, overtime premiums, or days off after weeks of uninterrupted work.

Bangladesh is not a case of low wages combining with a strong local currency to produce decent living standards. I visited workers' homes -- corrugated tin and plaster shacks shared by several families in Dhaka slums, without plumbing, affordable only with multiple family incomes. Local factory managements live differently. They maintain homes in London, Switzerland, and Singapore, send their children to European schools, and surround themselves with personal drivers, cooks, and maids. Profits are apparently not being reinvested locally to provide a capital basis for continued economic growth.

There are frequent calls for the country to develop a textile industry, for example, to reduce reliance on expensive Indian and Indonesian fabric. But it is not happening. From discussions with Bangladesh manufacturing executives, I concluded that reinvestment is confined to low-wage garment facilities because economic elites have no confidence that they can compete in any specialty besides cheap labor, an advantage they are determined to maintain.

In an address to the American-Bangladesh Economic Forum while I was in Dhaka, Bangladesh's Commerce Secretary ridiculed US opponents of child labor, charging them with arrogant interference in Bangladesh's internal affairs, and pointing out that "When we buy a US product here we don't ask who made it -- any black, widow, handicapped or any Muslim." It is fashionable for development econ-omists to claim that low wages in developing countries only offset low productivity, so labor cost advantages cannot be an important factor motivating investment in countries like Bangladesh.

I visited several Bangladesh factories to make productivity comparisons. Assume that the factories I was permitted to observe were among the more modern facilities. Still, a wide productivity gap between US and Bangladesh apparel factories was apparent. I saw seven men monitoring two multi-head embroidery machines -- that's one machine tender's job here. Perhaps a third of Bangladesh sewing machine operators required "helpers" (often children or adolescents) to cut thread and dispose of garments after seams were sewn. In US factories, machines have automatic thread-cutting devices.

Bangladesh operators, working a punishing schedule of 60 hours per week (or more), sewed at paces perhaps half those of experienced American operators paid by the piece for similar routine work. Hourly labor productivity in Bangladesh garment exports might, then, be as little as 20 percent of American productivity. So if American apparel workers are paid from $5 to $7 an hour, Bangladesh manufacturing would lose labor cost advantages if wages rose from 10 cents to $1. Moreover, production costs in Bangladesh are driven up by poor infrastructure, nightmarish transportation, and great distances to European and American markets.

Still, wages could easily be doubled without undermining the profitability of Bangladesh garment manufactures or reducing the (already negligible) reinvestment of profits in capital development. Each developing nation faces unique circumstances, and Bangladesh cannot provide a typical example of late-industrializing strategy. But it is an important one. There are now 1.2 million apparel workers in Bangladesh, virtually all producing for developed-country markets. Last year, apparel exports from Bangladesh were valued at two billion dollars, and 43 percent of these went to the United States. 3.Child labour on the increase in Bangladesh

By Nishanthi Priyangika 3 November 1999 A UN Childrens Fund report published in September has found that more than 6.3 million children under 14 are working in Bangladesh. Children are labouring as maids and servants, in garment factories and engineering workshops, in the construction sector, as bus or tempo (three-wheeler transport) helpers, in the beedi (a kind of hand-made cigarette) factories, as roadside restaurant workers and street vendors, and in tea plantations and other agricultural sectors.

According to UNICEF's Asian Child Labour Report (1999), there are some 40 industries in Bangladesh which use child labour, often under hazardous conditions and with little regard for health and safety. Children have been injured while engaged in underground mining, in maritime work and while operating or cleaning machinery in motion. Child workers are regularly exposed to dangerous levels of dust, gases, fumes, heat and noise. Muscular-skeletal and respiratory-related ailments are common among child labourers.


1."POOR AND DESTITUTE WORKING CHILDRENIN BANGLADESH." Susanta Kumar Barua International Affair Secretary

SRG Welfare Society

2.CHILD LABOUR IN BANGLADESH: MAGNITUDE, TRENDS AND FEATURES Mohammad Zulfiquer Hossain 3.Statistics on Working Children and Hazardous Child Labour in Brief Geneva, Revised April 1998 4.The Daily Star, March 20, 2005.

5.The Daily Ittafeq, november25,2004

8.Center for alternative policy.