Perils of poverty  

More than half of Pakistan’s population lives in areas of disproportionate poverty, and at the same time, it is beyond our reach to control its impacts. The consequences of poverty are cyclical, with each consequence leading to a different cause, which in turn results in yet another effect that adds to the hardships in this world. When monetary imbalance becomes a factor, children are forced into labor to support their families. They are pushed into becoming household help for affluent and upper-middle-class households, which is an increasingly worrisome trend in Pakistan.

These children are sent to work as maids despite the dangers of violence, verbal and sexual abuse they may face. We have come across infamous cases of child maids like Tayyaba, a ten-year-old who was tortured by a judge and his wife, resulting in several injuries, or the case of Nazia Shaukat, a girl in her early teens who was compelled to work as a household help in Lahore only to be brutally beaten by the owners’ daughters. Unfortunately, it has been proven that the exploitation of youngsters in underprivileged households is passed down from one generation to the next, and breaking the cycle of child labor seems nearly impossible.

As outlined in the Constitution and emphasized by Quaid-e-Azam, Pakistan must transform into a welfare state, but do we have what it takes to bring about tangible change? We often fail to recognize that as citizens of Pakistan, we all bear responsibility for these neglected children. They need to be heard and seen. Perhaps we can start by understanding that most children who enter the labor force do not do so by choice but due to circumstances. It is time we question our own prejudices and biases.



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