Stakeholders stress on multipronged approach to eliminate child labor

Speaking at the Child Labor Dialogue series with Nepal Live, they said that the causes that push the children in labor are interlinked and therefore those causes have to be addressed holistically.

NL Today

  • Read Time 3 min.

Kathmandu:  There is no denying that child labor of any form, including the worst form of child labor, must be eliminated from Nepal and elsewhere in the world. Nepal aimed to eliminate the worst form of child labor by 2022 and all kinds of child labor by 2025. But Nepal has already failed to achieve the first target.  But that should not impede Nepal’s endeavors to eliminate all forms of child labor.

This is the conclusion drawn by the experts in Nepal Live talk show entitled “Child Labor Dialogue.”

‘Child Labor Dialogue,’ is a talk show of Child Labor: Action Research Innovation in South and South Eastern Asia, Nepal (CLARISSA Nepal), aired by Nepal Live, the sister organization of Nepal Live Today. It featured representatives from the government, independent experts and researchers who are working in the field to eliminate the child labor.

The episode, centered on research, findings and analyses of 400 life stories, collected and analyzed by children and young people in the worst of child labor in the Kathmandu valley’s adult entertainment venues that included dance bar, cabin restaurant, spa and massage parlor, dohori restaurant, and small snack shops (khaja ghars) and transportation sector, delved deep on various underlying causes of child labor and how those causes can be addressed.

Presenting the findings of 400 life stories, Ranjana Sharma, researcher with CLARISSA Nepal, said that there are several causes to child labor. “There is not one single cause behind it. Causes are interlinked with each other,” said Sharma. “If it is economic cause what is the cause behind this cause? Are the parents alcoholic? Or separated? Or may be multiple marriages of parents? So we cannot pinpoint one single issue as the one single cause. There are multiple interlinked causes according to the children.”

Uddab Paudyal, child protection expert, said that Nepal failed to meet the goal of eliminating the worst form of child labor by 2022 due to lack of political commitment. “In our political system, there is little commitment toward meeting this goal,” said Paudyal. According to him, lack of legislation to empower the local governments to work on child labor is a pressing issue. “We now have three levels of government (federal, provincial and local). But local governments have no powers to act on child labor. You have to go to the Labor office to file complaint.” “The first strategy of the master plan was to amend the existing laws and policies. We worked on provisions to amend and forwarded the recommendations to parliament. Then the election took place, the government changed. Once the government changes things get stuck in our system.”

In the program, questions were also asked by children who worked on CLARISSA research and who were in child labor at one time. A 16-year-old asked: “Our finding is that extremely low economic situation in the family pushes the children in child labor. Due to low family economic situation a child like me is forced to come to Kathmandu for child labor. He has to face various types of abuses in workplaces as well. At home he faces abuses, yet goes to school. When he arrives school late, teachers torture us for arriving late. What kind of solution does the government have for such problem?”

Sujan Jojiju, under-secretary with the government of Nepal and the head of Labor and Employment Office highlighted how the government is working on rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of child labor. He called on all stakeholders to work together to meet the goal of eliminating all forms of child labor. “Child labor can be eliminated if we work with the thinking that ‘I won’t use child labor, I won’t allow others to use child labor, either’”, he said. “It cannot be eliminating only by looking up to the government alone to do it. We all need to have the commitment and work accordingly.”