Although a relatively small country geographically, Bangladesh has the eighth largest population in the world (168 million), a GDP of $274 billion, and a thriving export industry for manufactured goods, including textiles, electronics, leather, and jute.
However, child labor is unfortunately still very prevalent and contributes to the success of Bangladesh’s economy thus far. Here are some facts about child labor in Bangladesh that depict grave violations of human rights:
Young Children Do Not Attend School
It is believed 4.3 percent of children aged between five to fourteen years are engaged in child labor in Bangladesh. Most children are forced to work at this age in order to support their families. According to official statistics, not every Bangladeshi child goes to school, thereby resulting in easy access to cheap and exploitable labor.
Intergenerational poverty is common as the cycle of exploitative labor continues to harm children in Bangladesh. The issue is so prevalent that international coalitions have decided to launch initiatives to reduce the practice of child labor by employing strict regulations especially when it comes to international trade and commerce.
Children Migrate from Rural Areas
Research shows that 83 percent of children who take part in child labor travel from rural areas to urban areas. This is because resources and jobs are more commonly found in the city, allowing children to migrate and find employment that usually pays poorly.
They then send this money back to their villages where their families reside. According to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), children who worked for 64 hours a week got paid less than $2 each day.
Child Labor Regulations in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, children under 14 years of age are not allowed to work in any establishment. In September of 2018, the Government of Bangladesh approved a draft of an amendment to the Labour Act in which it is stipulated that children between ages 14 – 18 may only be employed in light work, with penalties for non-compliant employers set at BDT 5,000 (Bangladeshi takas).
However, despite this, there has been a rise in child labor for the past decade. You can easily find small children working in factories, fields, homes, and local businesses. According to the National Child Labor Survey, a total of 1.3 million children fell in the child labor category in Bangladesh. The International Labor Organization states that there are a total of 5 million full-time workers in Bangladesh.
Government’s Plan of Action
In 2002, the government of Bangladesh announced that children who attended primary school would be given a stipend. The cost of the school was also subsidized so that children belonging to poor families could attend school. Together, these two initiatives were meant to encourage students to stay at school instead of work.
These policies have been partly successful as of 2013; it was found that 7.8 million children went to school and received stipends of $1 each.
To learn more about minimum working age regulations around the world, visit Global People Strategist.