CLAAS has welcomed the Punjab government’s Ordinance 2016 for Prohibition of Child Labour in Brick Kilns in Punjab-Pakistan and hopes for its effective implementation.

A spokesman for the Punjab government said the eradication of child labour and provision of free education to the children of brick kiln workers was its mission.

The Punjab government has pledged that anyone in breach of the ordinance will be no leniency.

Under the new ordinance brick kilns will be inspected daily and any violations will be met with strict legal action which could include sealing of the brick kiln, a fine, or a term of imprisonment.

The ordinance prohibits an advance or more than six months’ salary being paid to workers and defines a child as anyone under the age of 14.

Nasir Saeed director CLAAS-UK has welcomed the new child labour policy. He said the majority of brick kiln workers are Christians, especially in the Punjab, and they are working for very little pay.

“They are treated inhumanly and are not provided with any facilities,including health, despite working in detrimental conditions. The whole family has to work as a unit to earn enough money to pay off their existing generations-old debt, and for their own living.

Mr Saeed said it is good news, and apart from legal aid, CLAAS has been providing medical facilities in the past. Recently we started a vocational school for girls and hope to start more in the future. At Christmas CLAAS distributed hundreds of Christmas gifts to four brick kilns, among hundreds of children.  CLAAS has been doing this since 2005 and hopes to continue this project.

He further said this is good news and hopes that the government strictly implements this policy to eliminate child labour so parents can take advantage of this policy for the better future of their children and come out of the slavery they have been living in under for generations.