After ratifying the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 182 to eradicate the Worst Forms of Child Labour (WFCL) in 2001, Bangladesh now has less than two years left to achieve this goal.
Analysing data by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF) found that between 2003 and 2013, the number of working children in the country has decreased by 3.55 million – from 7.90 million to 3.45 million.
Moreover, within this 10-year period, the number of child labourers working in hazardous sectors in the country has decreased by 0.10 million – from 1.29 million to 1.28 million.
The BSAF revealed this during a national consultation on "Implementation of ILO Convention 182: Opportunities and Challenges" at the centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) on Thursday.
However, no survey has been conducted since then and therefore there is no data on how many children are still working in hazardous sectors.
Speaking at the dialogue, AKM Masud Ali, executive director of INCIDIN Bangladesh, said: "The WFLC list needs to be revised. An updated database and a plan to and follow-up on child labour situation."
Tuomo Poutiainen, ILO country director for Bangladesh said although Bangladesh is economically progressing, child labour is still a major problem.
"Although the Bangladesh government promised in Geneva to eradicate child labour by 2021, in reality, it is now very difficult to achieve this goal," he said, adding that two years is not only enough.
"Only proper monitoring, strong local governance and building awareness can help eradicate child labour. Domestic workers should also be included in the next national survey regarding child labour," he added.