Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Background: Child labourers are exposed to an insecure environment and higher risk of violence. Violence among child labourers is an under-studied phenomenon which requires contextual assessment.
Aims: We applied Bronfenbrenner's ecological model (micro-, exo- and macro-system) to understand the interplay of individual, community, societal and policy context fuelling violence.
Methods: Focus group discussions and family ethnographies of child-labourers working in common occupational sectors of suburban areas of Sindh were carried out to gain in-depth understanding of their immediate environment and abuse (micro-system). Frequency of emotional, physical and sexual violence (5-14 years; n = 634) was also determined. Indepth interviews with employers (exo-system, n = 4) and key-informant-interviews of prominent stakeholders in Pakistan (macro-system, n = 4) working against labour/violence were carried out Thematic-content analysis was performed using MAXQDA, version 8.0.
Results: We estimated that 21%, 19% and 9% of children suffered from emotional, physical and sexual violence respectively. Child labourers' interviews indicated the existence of all forms of abuse at home and in the workplace; sexual violence by grandfathers was highlighted (micro-system). Children reported frequent scolding and insults in the workplace along with physical violence that could be fatal (exo-system). The legal environment of violence in Pakistan was considered deficient as it did not address the hidden forms (touching, kissing, etc.; macro-system).
Conclusion: We documented that all forms of violence were rampant among the child labourers, and improved efforts and comprehensive legislation is direly needed to alleviate the situation.


Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.