Saturday Dec 3, 2022
Saturday Dec 3, 2022

Poverty leading to child labor in Nepal

Child labor, child trafficking and even child marriages on the rise due to pandemic induced poverty


Nepalnews
2022 Apr 27, 5:59, Kathmandu
Photo : Representative image/ wikimedia commons

Despite the fact that, Nepal government has ratified many international and national policies to combat child labor in Nepal, a significant number of children are subjected to child abuse and child labor in the country. Based on the national data of Nepal’s Central Bureau of Statistics for 2021, among the 7 million children between the age of 5 and 17 in Nepal, 1.1 million (15.3%) children are subjected to child labor.

The Government of Nepal approved the National Master Plan (NMP) - II on Child Labor in the year 2018, which was executed from that year of endorsement to 2028, and will involve the formulation of evidence based child labor policies in Nepal.

The national report published by International Labor Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the Government of Nepal in 2021, shows that younger children are more subjected to child labor than older ones. Nearly 18 % of children between the ages of 5 and 13 in Nepal are subjected to child labor whereas the rate is 10% for older children between the ages of 14 and 17. The research also showed that female children are more likely to be engaged in child labor than male children in Nepal.

The economic disparity within Nepal unveils itself in the child labor rate as per different regions in the country. Child labor is highest in Karnali region (24.6%) followed by Sudurpashchim (20.9%), while it is the lowest in Bagmati (8.9%).


Photo : Representative image /flickr
Photo : Representative image /flickr

The Constitution of Nepal safeguards the rights of children and ensures that every child is protected by the law. Article 51 and 39 of the Constitution of Nepal (2015), guarantees child rights. Article 29 of the constitution states that all people should be free form exploitation, bonded labor and slavery.

 The Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, conceded by the Government of Nepal in the year 2000, prohibits the engagement of children below 14 years in any kind of employment/labor work. If children are engaged in work against his/her will by way of persuasion, misrepresentation or by subjecting he/she to any influence or fear or threat or coercion or by any other means culprits will be liable to a punishment with an imprisonment of one year in maximum or a fine of Rs 50,000.

However the mere formulation of laws and policies is useless unless it is properly and strictly implemented.

The financial deprivation of the family is a key factor that makes children endangered to child labor in Nepal. The likelihood of not attending school is the highest for children who work in Nepal. In such a dismal situation, the necessity to safeguard the children of Nepal from exploitation is the need of the hour.

“We receive letters from people, concerning the rescue and nurture of vulnerable children. We then verify the claims and if found true bring the children to the nearest children villages SOS has established. Many times the children we receive are victims of child abuse and child labor,” says senior officer of Societas Socialis (SOS) Nepal and doctoral candidate, Rama Karki.

Societas Socialis (SOS) Children's Villages is a leading global organization that advocates for children’s rights. In Nepal, SOS works for children who are orphaned, abandoned, and children who are victims of child abuse and child labor.

Inaugurated by Her Royal Highness, late Princess Sharada Shah on the July 20, 1969 Societas Socialis (S0S) children’s village Nepal, now has over 16203 beneficiaries in Nepal with safe homes built for vulnerable children in the districts of Bharatpur, Gandaki, Dhangadhi, Itahari, Jorpati, Kavre, Lumbini, Pokhara, Sanothimi and Surkhet.

According to the national data of SOS Nepal, there are currently 23,132 children without parental care in Nepal, while 37.4% of children between the age of 5 and 17 and subjected to child labor in Nepal.

In rural areas, the majority of children are engaged in agriculture activities, while urban children are engaged in more risky and dangerous jobs.

The Child Labor Prohibition and Regulation Act 2000, lists certain work categories that are prohibited for children in Nepal to indulge in. These prohibited professions are listed as high risk and hazardous for people under the age of 14.

Inaugurated by Her Royal Highness, late Princess Sharada Shah on the July 20, 1969 Societas Socialis (S0S) children’s village Nepal, now has over 16203 beneficiaries in Nepal with safe homes built for vulnerable children in the districts of Bharatpur, Gandaki, Dhangadhi, Itahari, Jorpati, Kavre, Lumbini, Pokhara, Sanothimi and Surkhet.

According to the national data of SOS Nepal, there are currently 23,132 children without parental care in Nepal, while 37.4% of children between the age of 5 and 17 and subjected to child labor in Nepal.

In rural areas, the majority of children are engaged in agriculture activities, while urban children are engaged in more risky and dangerous jobs.

The Child Labor Prohibition and Regulation Act 2000, lists certain work categories that are prohibited for children in Nepal to indulge in. These prohibited professions are listed as high risk and hazardous for people under the age of 14.


Photo: Prohibited jobs for underage children in Nepal
Photo: Prohibited jobs for underage children in Nepal

The Children's Act 2018 promulgated by the Government of Nepal prevents children below the age of 14 from working in hazardous sectors including paid domestic work.

Studies have shown that, child labor significantly increases when the region they live in are affected by natural disasters, conflict and health emergencies. According to the Government of Nepal, child labor increased in the post - disaster period of 2015, after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal seven years ago. The earthquake displaced 3 million people from their homes, and forced many children to work due to their families’ heavy financial loss.

“As a result of new, stricter laws and policies formulated to protect the rights of children in Nepal, child labor witnessed a decline in Nepal, However, after the COVID-19 pandemic, child labor, child trafficking and even child marriages have increased due to pandemic induced poverty,” concludes senior officer of SOS Nepal, Rama Karki.


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child labor in Nepal poverty mitigation child rights SOS
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