According to International Labour Organization (ILO), the term ‘child labor’ is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally hazardous and detrimental to children. It interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school, obliging them to leave school prematurely or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
Child labor is a crime and practiced in Bangladesh for many years. It is one of the serious social issues of Bangladesh and needs to be banned to save and secure the bright future of many new generations as well as the future of the country. Children become the future leaders of the nation; they should be nourished and cared very attentively especially by their parents.
According to a survey of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), as of 2015, the country had some 3.45 million active child laborers.
According to ATLAS Reasons Dhaka's slum children gave for leaving school to work:
Rights activists say the government’s announcement of eradicating child labor came at a time when the country was positively motivated due to a decrease in the incidence of child labor.
At the national level, Bangladesh enacted the Labor Act in 2006, which includes a chapter on child labor. This new law prohibits employment of children less than 14 years of age, as well as prohibiting hazardous forms of child labor for persons under age 18. However, children who are aged 12 and above may be engaged in ‘light work’ that does not pose a risk to their mental and physical development and does not interfere with their education. The law does not provide a strong enforcement mechanism for the child labor provisions.
The government must take action to firmly enforce measures to stop child labor and to make school attend affordably. The enforcement machinery should provide more manpower and logistic support. Existing child labor laws need to be enforced effectively. The implementing authority should be trained and sensitized about child labor, relevant laws and regulations and the need for penalizing the offenders.