Quetta (Pakistan) – Pakistan government has reaffirmed its commitment to eradicate child and bonded labour from Balochistan province at a meeting in Quetta.
Over fifty high-level representatives from Government employers, workers organizations’ as well as civil society members deliberated on the Government of Baluchistan’s planned interventions to eradicate child and bonded labour from the Province at 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, Government of Balochistan, stated while addressing the closing session of the consultation. He further shared that Baluchistan 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 inaugurated the consultation and stated that all the relevant departments and stakeholders had to join hands to address the menace of child and bonded labour. He said there was an urgent need to consolidate efforts to achieve significant results on elimination of child labour and assured the support of his institution to address these issues.
In outlining the strategy to address child and bonded labour in Baluchistan 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. Mr. Ahmed also appreciated the support of the ILO in supporting the provincial efforts to address child and bonded labour as well as the technical assistance being rendered to develop strategies aimed at achieving intended targets envisaged under the approved PC-I.
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. He highlighted some of the innovations of the project in implementing interventions to increase its effectiveness. 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 Baluchistan.
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.
This event was organized as part of ILO’s technical support to the Federal and Provincial Governments of Pakistan to enhance their efforts and resource allocation for the elimination of child and bonded labour.