Labour and Environment secretary KM Abdus Salam on Sunday said Keraniganj would be a child labour- free area by 2022 as government is determined to eliminate it from the country to achieve SDGs.
"A committee will be formed within the next week to make Keraniganj a child labour -free area. DC, mayor, union parishad chairman and trade union leaders will be included in the committee," he said.
The secretary was speaking in a roundtable discussion titled "Elimination of child labour in local RMG: Challenges and way forward" organised by Bangladesh Labour Foundation (BLF).
"We hope that the international agencies including the ILO will be more helpful to achieve SDGs instead of only giving advice," he added.
BLF executive director AKM Ashraf Uddin underscored the need for providing non-formal education and skill development training for child labour to achieve the SDGs.
"The number of child labourers has increased here due to Covid-19 pandemic. Many of the children are being forced to work due to financial crisis in family," he added.
He expressed worry over the increase in drug addiction among children in Keraniganj area.
"Around 47 percent children work in more than 9500 apparel factories in Keraniganj. They have to stay there in an insecure and unhealthy environment," he also said.
He added there is no leave for workers, workers work 'no work, no pay' basis.
Mir Reazul Karim, World Vision's regional advocacy and child protection coordinator, sector based database under the Labour Ministry is needed to eliminate child labour.
BLF chairman Abdus Salam Khan, its general secretary ZM Kamrul Anam, among others, spoke.