LAHORE - Unbridled inflation, illiteracy, poverty and unemployment are the major causes behind the growing menace of child labour, a survey conducted by TheNation revealed. It transpired that children are working at hotels, auto-shops, transport vans, printing industry, service stations or selling balloons in the streets. A large number of them also work as house servants. Although no authentic figures are available about the number of such children but according to Manpower Pakistan Survey (2007-08), 21 million children of age group 10 to 14 are working in various sectors. In 2003, UNICEF reported that about 8 million children were involved in economic activities while Human Rights Commission of Pakistan report of 2005 indicated the number of child labourers in the country was 10 million. The children working in both formal and informal sector are not getting sufficient salaries. Some children shared with TheNation that they got only lunch and Rs200 weekly by their owner whom they called Ustad. This is fact that the children are paid very low wages as a child working in printing press said that his monthly pay was Rs3,000. The child labourers average income is Rs1,500, which reflects that how they are being exploited. The menace is not on the priority list of the government, as it is reluctant to probe into the issue and conduct any survey to trace the facts behind child labour. Government conducted a survey in 1996 to find the statistics regarding child labour. According to National Survey of Child Labour by Federal Bureau of Statistics conducted in 1996, 3.3 million children were involved in economic activities, which was 8.3 percent of the total children of the country of age group from 5 to 14. The figure of child labour in Punjab was 8.6 percent002E A survey of 1998 at Steel Furnaces and Spare Parts Manufacturing industry in Lahore indicated that 27 percent of total workforce was child labourer. The survey at Carpet Industry in Punjab in 2001 estimated that there were 95,204 carpet-weaving households in Punjab. The estimated population of carpet weaving children aged 5-14 was 10,7065 including 62,904 female children and 44,161 male children. Another aspect of this gloomy scene is that thousands of child labourers died and injured in hazardous sectors every year as a survey by Base Line Survey of child labour carried out in some sectors of economy in 2001, said, a sizeable incidence of child labour was evident in all industries covered with estimated 700-750 in tanneries, 5800 in surgical tools manufacturing, and 9800-10000 in glass bangles industry. A large number of the child labourers wanted to study but due to financial constraints, they cannot materialised their desire. Usama Ali, 13, who works at a tea stall at Band Road said his father died some four years ago and his mother who is already working in a home, sent him here. Another 14-year-old Ghulam Dastagir working at a book binding shop said he worked here with his brother and father. His father said he brought his children with him as he thought that education had no benefit because a large number of educated youth were wandering for getting jobs.