Researsh & Study

Child Labour Situation in Keraniganj Local Readymade Garments

Timeline: 2021

Bangladesh is facing challenges to prevent child labour. Moreover, the COVID-19 situation has significantly contributed to increasing children’s engagement as labourers in different sectors. The Bangladesh Labour Foundation, from its working experience and other studies, confirmed that many children work in the downstream RMG industries and are victims of exploitation and discrimination.Children in Bangladesh are subjected to the worst forms of child labour, performing dangerous tasks in different sectors like garment factories, industries, construction, transport, etc. Despite the significant success of the government of Bangladesh, it remains challenging to ensure fundamental human rights for children, particularly poor children. The local RMG factories are running without formal rules and regulations. In the absence of legal statutes, a large number of child labourers are exploited here. To mitigate the challenges, along with the government, the Bangladesh Labour Foundation (BLF) has been working to combat child labour in the Keraniganj downstream RMG industries. BLF commissioned this study to identify the number of child workers in Keraniganj and their socio-economic status.

Objectives: The objectives of the study are to find out the type and prevalence of child labour in RMG plants, explore socio-economic indicators, and understand the attitudes of relevant stakeholders.

Methodology: The study was carried out through a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. Different tools were used, such as structured questionnaires, checklists, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and storytelling to deeply understand the situation of child labour. The calculation included child workers aged up to 14 years. By geographical location, two unions were stratified in Keraniganj.

Findings: The majority of the child workers were involved in work due to poverty and had to support their families. The study found that most of the children came from coastal areas due to river erosion. The OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) conditions are extremely poor. Male and female child labourers use the same toilet, which is unhygienic and always has an inadequate water supply, and there is a restriction on going there anytime. The factories are usually set up in a single room, where many people work and sleep together in a confined space. Usually, the factories do not have any firefighting equipment. The child labourers mostly got their jobs through a distant relative and were employed verbally on a contract basis. Initially, they work as trainees for a two-year contract under an “Oshtad” (trainer). During this period, they get food, accommodation, and a weekly payment as pocket money. Child workers’ general working hours are more than 8 hours with no provision for overtime. Verbal and physical violence exist in this sector. Not only female but also male children face sexual violence. The study finds that children’s mental growth is severely hampered, creating an unbalanced condition for their future.



  • Discouraging owners from employing children in homes, shops, factories, etc., through awareness programs and advocacy.
  • Special focus must be given to preventing sexual harassment/physical torture of both girl and boy child labourers.
  • Through its programs and advocacy initiatives, BLF must address menstrual health hygiene management issues and involve trade unions to motivate owners to ensure separate toilet facilities for male and female workers. Besides, awareness-raising workshops, training, and BCC (Behavior Change Communication) materials can be facilitated by BLF.

Related posts