Hypocritical condemnation: Child labour causes much greater pain | Pakistan Today

Hypocritical condemnation: Child labour causes much greater pain

  • Give child a chance at creating his own reality rather than choosing his fate for him

What’s the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear the term child labour? You probably think that this is not humanity or this is a tragedy (in our society)! But have you ever actually tried to do something about it? Have you ever wondered who really makes all those good-quality clothes you love wearing everyday?

Of course, we all love a good shop – a major chunk of your pocket money probably goes on the latest high street labels. Although that new top you bought may look so good hanging in the wardrobe, would you be so chuffed if you knew who made it? You may think that having to empty the dishwasher, tidying up your room, or having to mow the lawn for your pocket money is an arduous task but trust me it’s not. Well then, what are your thoughts about working 12 hours a day in a filthy, crummy factory just for a few hundred rupees or maybe not even that in some scenarios?

It is very easy to quote statistics that over 12.5 million children in Pakistan are involved in child labour or to say, as in a recent statement issued, this staggering number requires immediate action by the federal and provincial governments. Taking it another step further, putting the entire blame on their parents and in a very guilt-free manner, saying their choice but doing no harm may sound as the right thing but in a modern, industrial society like ours, it’s almost the exact opposite.

With everyone working to bring about a change that we constantly hear of, and stating their opinions through actions, condemning child labour while you sip on a China teacup is no better than how those vain factory owners are hiring underage children. With that being said, I think we all can agree that this problem is real and is indeed a problem, but the question that remains is that how can we as a nation, as a so-called progressive society, overlook the fact that power lies in our very own two hands.

By the time the sun sets, it is up to us whether we use that power or instead focus on producing heartless machines for generations to come. On the other hand, you could also take it a different route by writing about the pain a child labourer faces later in life. Physical wounds still heal eventually, but forcing an eight-year-old boy to work in a steel mill just so he can have a roof to sleep under at night causes much greater pain.

The child not only deals with the physical trauma but also has to cope with the mental and emotional trauma that is like text on a rock and not sand. He comes to believe that him working in such conditions is the norm. Therefore, he comes to accept it as his reality and that is where we as a society fail as you all know “a child in pain is no gain.”

At this point, some of us may argue that we’re not the ones employing them in factories, but have we ever realised that even we as educated individuals, at the end of the day, have them working for us in our houses, in a job no better than what I, rather anyone with a heart, would regard no better than an equivalent to slavery. Similarly, a factory worker enforcing long, tiresome hours on that poor, wretched eight-year-old soul is classified as injustice; whereas, it is absolutely fine for us to break that same boy’s heart by denying him his basic rights or providing him with a good quality education and all for what – just so he can fetch you a glass of water or shine your shoes when you return home.

For this, we have no one to blame but ourselves. It is we who allow it to even happen by behaving passively. In a matter of all honesty, you can’t give that eight-year-old boy his childhood back but at least give him his future, give him a chance at creating his own reality rather than choosing his fate for him.

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