The Ministry of Labour and Employment has declared six more export-oriented industries free of child labour.
The sectors are silk, tannery, ceramic, glass, ship processing, leather goods and footwear industries.
With this, the government has so far declared eight industries free of child labour. Earlier, ready-made garment and shrimp industry were declared free from child labour.
"Industry owners have informed us there were no child labourers. Ministry officials inspected factories and found no child labourers. So, the sectors were declared child labour free," said State Minister for Labour and Employment Monnujan Sufian at a press conference at Shramo Bhaban in the capital on Thursday.
The European Union has asked Bangladesh for a roadmap to ensure a child labour free industry to continue GSP benefits from 2025. In this context, Bangladesh has promised to eliminate child labour by 2025. It will be possible to free the country from child labour within the stipulated time, she added.
There is still child labour in the garments of Keraniganj. The Dhaka district administration will be instructed to stop child labour there. Several projects have been taken to rehabilitate child labourers, she said further.
The press conference was also presided over by Labour Secretary KM Abdus Salam who said all sectors will be freed from child labour this year. That is why we are continuing our activities even in the pandemic.
According to the labour law, no one below the age of 14 can be employed as a worker. And no one under the age of 18 can be engaged in risky work. The government has identified 38 sectors as risky for children. The list includes five of the six sectors declared child labour free.
The provisions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) say all under 15 are considered as children and cannot be employed. Bangladesh has promised to ratify the ILO's provision under pressure from the European Union.
In October 2020, the government identified nine strategic areas for the elimination of child labour and assigned 10 ministries and departments. The Ministry of Labour formulated the child labour policy in 2010.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) 2013 data, about 13 lakh children are engaged in hazardous labour in Bangladesh. Officials said a new initiative has been taken to update the data.
Kazi Raushan Ara Sumi, executive director, Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh, Sirajul Islam Molla, president of Bangladesh Ceramic Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Syeda Munira Sultana, National Project Coordinator of ILO Bangladesh, were present on the occasion among others.