Bangladesh children subjected to worst forms of child labour: US labour department

A child labourer handles an old tyre in Dhaka on 1 September 2019AFP file

Children in Bangladesh are subjected to the worst forms of child labour, including commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour in the drying of fish and the production of bricks, the US Department of Labor said in its new report published recently.

They also perform dangerous tasks in the production of garments and leather goods, the department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs in its 21st edition of the ‘Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor’ added, reports news agency UNB.

The annual report focuses on the efforts of certain US trade beneficiary countries and territories to eliminate the worst forms of child labour through legislation, enforcement mechanisms, policies and social programmes.

The Bangladesh Labour Act does not apply to the informal sector, in which most child labour in Bangladesh occurs, the US Department of Labor said.

In addition, penalties for child labour violations can only be imposed after a lengthy legal process and, when courts do impose them, the fines are too low to deter child labour law violations.

Moreover, the government did not publicly release information on its criminal law enforcement efforts related to child labour, the department added.

In 2021, Bangladesh made moderate advancements in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour.

In early 2022, the government ratified International Labor Organization Convention No. 138: Convention Concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment and the International Labor Organization Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labor Convention.

Also, it removed 5,088 children in vulnerable situations from 23 districts through labour inspections, the report said.