In Bangladesh, most poor families are more or less dependent on the children’s income for survival. The Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BASF) has identified 430 risky jobs. Within these 67 professions are classified as very much risky and 11 are classified as dangerous. Ship breaking is falls in the latter.
YPSA’s baseline survey in 2003, 10.94% of the labor force is made up with children (age up to 18). Most of the children come from the northern regions of Bangladesh. It was noticed that ship breaking contractors prefer to recruit children as they are less expensive than their adult counterparts.
The children work mainly as gas cutters assistants and move small iron pieces from one place to another. They either work in the yard from sunrise to sunset or do the night shift. On average they receive 50-60 taka a day for their efforts. There are no educational or recreational facilities.
Bangladesh has adopted the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1990. Bangladesh has a number of laws for the protection of children. For instance articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution, a child has the right to social security rights. Act no. 28, the state has been given power to impose special ordinance for serving the child’s interest. Act no. 34 prohibits the coercion of children into doing hard labor. The Children Act (1974) has banned the use of vulnerable child labor yet we still see children working in the ship breaking yards in Bangladesh.