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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 303
January 05, 2013

This week's issue:
Reviewing Voting System
Human Rights Advocacy
Law Analysis
Reviewing 2012
LLaw Interview
Your Advocate
Law Week

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Human Rights Advocacy

Adult for work not for compensation!

Sultana Razia

Alim, worked in a welding factory in Uttara for last five years and with the "grace" of excessive workload, his lean and thin body disguise his actual age. I guessed he was 7 but making me wrong he was 12 that time; this gives a clear message that he started his work at the age of 7! He works for 12 hours and 7 days a week, accepts big holidays like, Eid or something like that. I asked him about his work. With a matured voice, Alim replied, he has to do it because his employer is kind enough to give him this job, which helps him and his family to ensure daily meals. Working there for last five years, he gained a lot confidence of the employer and enables himself to take the burden of unusual workload. When I asked about the payments, he replied he earned 70 take per day! Which is half of an adult but the work he has done is not half; rather it is more than what an adult is done.

The excessive obedience of the poor child workers who are inclined with extreme poverty facilitates the employer to deprive those needy children from their entitled compensation. His employer, Tariqul, respond, "I am doing favour to Alim and his family. I taught him this trade and he has a chance to practice his skill here, as a child how could you expect more money than what he is paying?"

Farid, a non paid worker, in a tea stall, in Ramu, sadar, CoxsBazar, works for more than twelve hours and seven days a week, his father used to work with that stall and owe some money, which he still not able to pay. To repay that amount, Farid started working with the stall for last one year. He is not at all happy with the solution, but at least given three meals for his tinny soul and afraid to leave the job, which may harms his family. New anti trafficking law says, "Forced labour or services' means all work or service that is exacted from any person under the threat of any penalty, loss, or damage to life, liberty, property, or reputation of that person" But poor Farid, nor his father has no idea how to get rid from this exploitative situations.

There is no minimum wage for certain sectors and some works are not even treated as work. Working like an adult, treated like adults but not being compensated like them is the only name of discrimination, is the only name of exploitation and our working children are growing with this unjust system.

In this competitive world, where skill should be determining factor for getting compensation, why these young adults will not be paid, as only for being young?

Salma, a house help for Dhanmondi, says, she has to work long hours, but she is happy, as she is allowed to watch a drama-serial and she thinks as she is employed here, how long there is work, she needs to finish it.

Unfortunately, this is very common issue in rural area, where a children often taken care of other children, carrying heavy bags, doing work for rich children and abused or exploited with wages. Sometimes this is really weird to think but this is reality.

If we really trust on the core essence of CRC we should stop doing this, or at least start thinking to break this circle. Education is a must for children and for working children it is our (employer) responsibility to ensure his young employer's right, only then we can dream for a perfect child friendly world.

From Law Desk.




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