‘Bangladesh made moderate advancement in eliminating child labour’
Bangladesh made moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour in 2021, the US Department of Labor said today.
In early 2022, Bangladesh government ratified International Labor Organization Convention (ILO) 138 that deals with minimum age for admission to employment and the ILO protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labor Convention, according to the latest Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports of the US Department of Labor.
The government also removed 5,088 children in vulnerable situations from 23 districts through labour inspections.
However, children in Bangladesh are subjected to the worst forms of child labour, including commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour in drying of fish and the production of bricks.
Children also perform dangerous tasks in the production of garments and leather goods.
The Bangladesh Labour Act does not apply to the informal sector, in which most child labour in Bangladesh occurs.
In addition, penalties for child labour violations can only be imposed after a lengthy legal process and, when courts do impose them, the fines are too low to deter child labour law violations.
Moreover, the government did not publicly release information on its criminal law enforcement efforts related to child labour.
Child labour is available in the bidi (the hand rolled cigarettes), bricks, dried fish, footwear, furniture (steel), garments, glass, leather, matches, poultry, salt, shrimp, soap, textiles, jute (textiles), the report also said.
Of these, garments and dried fish sectors have also the forced labour, the report said.
There is no scope for child and forced labour in the garment sector as the child labour has been eliminated from the sector in 2004 in consultation with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), said Md Shahidullah Azim, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
"Moreover, we inspect every member factory of the BGMEA to check the child labour. We also fine the member factory if child labour is found in any factory," Azim told The Daily Star over phone.
If any child labour or forced labour is found in sub-contracting factories, BGMEA has little to do as the association does not have any control on the non-member factories, Azim also said.