Balochistan Gears Up to Eradicate Child and Bonded Labor from the Province
QUETTA: Over fifty high level representatives from Government, Employers and Workers Organizations as well as civil society deliberated on the Government of Balochistan’s planned interventions to eradicate child and bonded labour from the Province. This was during a one day Provincial Stakeholders’ Consultative Meeting jointly organized by the Balochistan Labour and Manpower Department and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Office for Pakistan in Quetta.
“The allocation of Rs. 40 million out of Balochistan Public Sector Development Programme to address the issues of child and bonded labour is a clear manifestation of the government’s commitment”, Mr. Hamid-ul-Karim, Secretary Labour and Manpower, Balochistan, stated while addressing the closing session of the consultation. He further shared that Balochistan would follow the footsteps of Punjab Government’s Integrated Project in tackling child and bonded labour with the support of the ILO through collaborative efforts to deal with this challenge.
Mr. Abdul Hamid Baloch-Commissioner, Balochistan Employees’ Social Security Institutions stated that all the relevant departments and stakeholders had to join hands to address the menace of child and bonded labour.
In outlining the strategy to address child and bonded labour in Balochistan Mr. Saeed Ahmed, Director Labour shared that interventions against child and bonded labour would be piloted in eight districts of the province. In addition, rapid assessments would be conducted with the technical assistance of the ILO to determine the scale of the problem and this will provide an evidence base for the planned interventions.
Dr. Javid Gill-Project Director, Integrated Project, Government of Punjab, gave a comprehensive presentation on the intervention currently being implemented in Punjab and shared experiences and lessons learned in execution of various government development schemes to address the issues of child and bonded labour in the province over the last decade. Officials from Punjab province expressed their commitment to extend maximum cooperation to the Government of Balochistan in the execution of the proposed project interventions.
Mr. Jawad Hussain-Assistant Director, FIA Immigration Quetta briefed the participants on human smuggling and trafficking in persons. He explained the role of FIA in addressing child and bonded labour and agreed to strengthen collaboration with the Labour Department on the issue.
Syed Saghir Bukhar-Senior Programme Officer, ILO Country Office for Pakistan welcomed the participants on behalf of the ILO and introduced International Labour Organizations, its structure, role of constituents as well as core ILO conventions within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and a discussion ensued on the role of stakeholders in achieving targets set for the elimination of child and bonded labour in Balochistan.
Among the main conclusions of the stakeholder’s consultation was the need to engage academia in conducting research and analysis, the need for regular national surveys on child and bonded labor as well as importance of public private partnerships in addressing the challenge.
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