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B’desh passes draft law banning child labour

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Children fill up empty cigarettes manually with locally grown tobacco in a small bidi (cigarette) factory at Haragach in Rangpur district, Bangladesh, July 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

DHAKA (Xinhua) – The Bangladeshi government on Monday approved the draft of a law banning child labor in the country with provisions for stringent punishment to offenders.

The draft was approved at a cabinet meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told reporters.

The proposed “Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Act” stipulates that anybody who engages child labor will be fined 5,000 taka (about 60 US dollars).

In line with the draft, children aged 14-18 will only allowed to do light work.

The country’s existing labor law allows the minimum age for light work at 12.

The move comes as the phenomenon of child labor in Bangladesh is on the rise in various informal sectors, including small factories and workshops, on the street, in home-based businesses and domestic employment.

According to the International Labour Organisation definition, there are about 3.2 million child labourers in Bangladesh.

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