Bangladesh child la­bor­ers toil 64 hours a week

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

DHAKA: Bangladeshi child la­bor­ers who live in slums work for an av­er­age of 64 hours a week, many of them in tex­tile fac­to­ries mak­ing clothes for top world brands, a ma­jor study said yes­ter­day. The new re­port from the Lon­don-based Over­seas De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute has found that 15 per­cent of Dhaka slum-dwellers aged be­tween six and 14 did not go to school and worked full-time.

The re­port, en­ti­tled “Child la­bor and ed­u­ca­tion - a sur­vey of slum set­tle­ments in Dhaka”, found that two-thirds of girls from slum ar­eas who are work­ing full-time were em­ployed in the boom­ing gar­ment sec­tor. The find­ings raised con­cern over Bangladesh’s $30 bil­lion clothes man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try, which is one of the world’s big­gest de­spite a dread­ful safety record. The man­ager of one un­named gar­ment fac­tory told re­searchers that while he was aware chil­dren aged 11-14 should not be work­ing, he did not re­gard their em­ploy­ment as il­le­gal.

He also ad­mit­ted that many of his em­ploy­ees did not carry iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards which would ver­ify their age. There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment from Bangladesh au­thor­i­ties or its pow­er­ful gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers, but union lead­ers said child la­bor in fac­to­ries was ram­pant. The ex­tent of child la­bor in Bangladesh’s tex­tile in­dus­try was laid bare in July when a nine-year-old boy was bru­tally killed at one of the largest spin­ning fac­to­ries. Po­lice prob­ing the fac­tory said they found a quar­ter of the work­force at the fac­tory out­side Dhaka were chil­dren.

The ODI re­port, one of the largest sur­veys on child work and ed­u­ca­tion con­ducted in Bangladesh, found that by the age of 14 al­most half of the chil­dren liv­ing in Dhaka’s slums were work­ing. The re­port’s co-au­thor Maria Qu­at­tri said re­searchers found many chil­dren wanted to go to school. “But poverty was driv­ing par­ents to find jobs for their chil­dren, even though they could see that it would jeop­ar­dize their long-term fu­ture,” she wrote. The study also found that child la­bor lev­els rise from around eight per­cent at the age of 10 to 45 per­cent at the age of 14, with 36.1 per­cent of boys and 34.6 per­cent of girls say­ing they had ex­pe­ri­enced ex­treme fa­tigue.

— AFP

DHAKA: Bangladeshi worker Rus­sel, and who says he will turn 14 next year, works in a garage in Dhaka yes­ter­day. Bangladeshi child la­bor­ers who live in slums work for an av­er­age of 64 hours a week, many of them in tex­tile fac­to­ries mak­ing clothes for top world brands, a ma­jor study said.

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