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Child laborers on the rise in Sylhet

Sylhet is on the oldest cities in the country. It is famous for education, culture, sports and different social activities.  But the number of child laborers is increasing day by day with the pace of the modern lifestyle. Children work here in workshops, garages, bakeries and restaurants. Due to the poverty, the children are deprived of education. The employers blame the poverty for the child labor though they know it is an offence.

Many children are engaged in different risky works in different places of Sylhet city. The tender-minded children are toiling dawn to dusk. But they were supposed to study in schools at this age. These children are forced to work taking risk due to the poverty of their families. But they are ill-paid.

The employers are taking the opportunity to pay less though they know that child labor is an offence. They defend the child labor saying the parents of these children can’t bear the educational expenses of them. As a result, the parents take their children to different garages, workshops, bakeries for employment.

About the child labor, the child affairs officer said the children who can’t go to school due to financial problem, the social services department provides training to them with a view to taking them to the mainstream of the society. The leaders of different social organizations said the authorities concerned will take necessary measures to bring the drop outs to the education. According to the Labor Law of Bangladesh 2006, the minimum legal age for employment is 14.

However, as 93 per cent of child laborers work in the informal sector- in small factories and workshops, on the street, in home-based businesses and domestic employment, the enforcement of labor laws is virtually impossible. Poverty causes families to send children to work, often in hazardous and low-wage jobs, such as brick-chipping, construction and waste-picking. Children are paid less than adults, with many working up to twelve hours a day.

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