Discuss as:

Millions pushed into child labor in Pakistan

Akhtar Soomro / Reuters

Zakir, 10, pauses during his work of cutting fish at Karachi's Fish Harbor on Feb. 1, 2012. Zakir earns $2.20 per day. Rising food and fuel prices and a struggling economy have forced many families to send their children to work instead of school.

Faisal Mahmood / Reuters

Simon, 12, holds a light to assist his supervisor working on a motorcycle engine at a workshop in Islamabad on Jan. 31, 2011. Simon earns 22 cents per day working as a workshop helper.

Reuters reports: Tears tracing lines of dirt on his face, six-year-old Pakistani boy Nabeel Mukhtar cries while crouching on a pavement to scrub motorbikes, his job for nine hours a day, six days a week in Islamabad, Pakistan.

"From the bottom of my heart, I want to send my son to school but we have so many expenses ... We struggle to put food on our table," said Mukhtar's mother, Shazia, who also has a four-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter.

"He's learning to work and he also earns around 300-400 rupees. So what's wrong in that? We are poor," Mohammed said of the boy.

Meanwhile in Lahore, Pakistan the death toll from the collapse of a three-story factory rose to 17 on Tuesday as rescuers searched for survivors in the rubble. A gas explosion caused the building to collapse on Monday, trapping dozens of laborers, mostly boys aged 14 – 14 inside.

Governance in Pakistan is described as too corrupt and inept to tackle an array of problems, from struggling industries and child labor problems to Taliban insurgents who carry out suicide bombings across the South Asian nation.

Related PhotoBlog posts: