Protection from abuse and exploitation

PROTECTION FROM ABUSE

What we do

The two areas in which the CRU focuses its work on protection from abuse and exploitation are:

Child Labour:

The Child Rights Unit concentrates its efforts in giving visibility to the existence of child labour in the formal and informal sectors and advocating measures for its elimination. Activities in this area largely use fact-finding, advocacy and research to promote children’s right to protection against exploitation and abuse that accompany the practice of child labour.

Child Abuse:

The issue of child abuse is a serious concern in Pakistan. However, it has seldom been the subject of public debate because of social denial of practices that are prevalent but not acknowledged. Several NGOs have taken up the issue, but there is still a lack of a concerted and more coherent strategy to deal with the issue. Advocacy remains weak, research on the issue is limited because of the invisibility of victims and monitoring of the conditions that result in abuse, particularly in the domestic sphere, is largely hampered because of the tendency to resist such efforts, as these are perceived as interference and intrusion in the private domain.

Abuse of the girl child, of children in the work place including domestic workers, corporal punishment in educational institutions are some of the areas in which the Child Rights Unit carries out campaigns and conducts fact finding as well as make legal and other interventions for the protection of children.

Responsibility of the state in the elimination of practices that result in abuse and exploitation of children is emphasized through workshops, fact finding reports on incidents of child abuse, training and consultation with relevant authorities and the provincial and national legislatures.

Impact

The Child Rights Unit has held consultations on the legal measures necessary for strengthening child protection and eliminating abuse and neglect. Consultations and public advocacy has had some impact on policy and some practical measures have been adopted and mechanisms established to deal with some areas of child abuse and exploitation. It resulted in the enactment of the Punjab Destitute and Neglected Children’s Act in 2004, and the establishment of the Child Protection Bureau in the province. The other province to adopt similar legislation is the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Child Rights Unit has provided legal aid and other support to victims of trafficking. The Child Rights Unit led the successful campaign against using children for camel racing in the Gulf States. Extensive campaigns have also been carried out on the broader issues of child labour and on particular sectors such as child domestic labour. The Child Rights Unit has intervened directly in many incidents to protect child domestic workers who became victims of abuse, by assisting in access to justice and for rescue and relief from this harmful practice.

In collaboration with other NGOs and relevant governmental agencies, the CRU has now put forward a “Child Protection Agenda” (CPA) that marks the elimination of child marriages, corporal punishment, child sexual abuse and child domestic labour as the priority for action. Task forces have also been formed at the national and provincial levels to develop an action plan based on the CPA.