Work-oriented education reduces child labour in Rajshahi industries

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

Number of child labour in various industries, factories and other risky workplaces started reducing as various apt initiatives have been undertaken, including work oriented education, in the region for the last couple of years, BSS reports.

Deputy Inspector General of Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) Ariful Islam said they are working on 38 risky sectors in the region where children work.

In 2021, there were 190 child labourers under 14 in the risky sectors. The government organisation has brought 80 of those children under work oriented education by releasing them from the risky jobs till April last.

Islam also said there are more than 5,000 child labourers in factories and other commercial establishments, including electric and welding, in the city and its outskirts and upazila markets which are out of their authority.

He said there are many reasons behind the child labours and they have limitations to mitigate the problems. Despite the limitations they are putting in their level best efforts to rehabilitate the child labourers every year in a planned way. They are being brought under technical and vocational education gradually.

Abdullah Khan, president of Rajshahi District Shramik League, said the child labours are subjected to repression and oppression including bulling, mental and physical torture and sexual exploitation and abuse frequently.

Situation of child labour in marginalised and ethnic minority communities is more vulnerable compared to them in the urban areas. Girl children in the relatively poor areas face early marriage, while the boys are forced to work with their parents.

If the country can ensure a women-friendly and child-friendly environment then the child rights will be easily ensured.

Abdullah Khan said physical and cognitive development of children couldn’t be ensured until they were protected from risky labour.

The children should be protected from all sorts of labour, violence, repression and oppression so that they could make themselves competent enough to serve the nation.

He stressed that children should be taught positive social values and encouraged to develop healthy behaviours at an early age.

Apart from this, he emphasised the need for ensuring children’s safety and security and stopping early marriage for national interest.

Meanwhile, all the functioning silk industries and factories in Rajshahi industrial estate of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) are made free of child labour at present.

This has been revealed by members of a national monitoring core committee of the labour and employment ministry after visiting some of the silk factories in the recent past.

The committee members visited the silk manufacturing ventures and factories like Lucky Weaving Silk Traders, Usha Silk, Sapura Silk, Adhunik Silk Mills, Nadim Silk Industries, Khaza Ahmed Silk Industries and Rajshahi Silk Fashion.

After visiting the industries, the members mentioned that not a single child works in the factories. They have visited the business establishments to see whether any children work or not there and the team members are happy over the situation.

BSCIC regional director Rezaul Alam Sarker said social responsibility coupled with concerted efforts of all the government and non-government organizations concerned can be the best way of preventing child labour.

Side by side with building large-scale mass-awareness, owners of factories and industries should come forward and work together to eliminate the child labour for protecting their rights.