Deteriorating Economic Conditions Mean Hard Times for Child Laborers

Children's faces are blurred to protect their identity

Shafat, a child scavenger in the city garbage dumps, also goes from door to door to purchase garbage from households. He constantly shouts “Kabari, Kabari” (meaning buyer of old/recyclable items) and households with recyclable items call him over to sell paper, plastics, metal, stale bread, bones, etc. Shafat then sells the recyclable items to the shops who sell them to the recycling units. The the stale bread is sold to cattle owners who use it as animal feed.

According to Shafat, not long ago the households used to accept whatever amount he would offer for recyclable goods, but recently they began to bargain and demand more money. This has lowered his profit margin. And stale bread is seldom available anymore because of the unprecedented rise in the price of flour.  Now, instead of giving it to him, people dip the stale bread in soup to soften it before eating it. 

Also the quantity of recyclable items he used to scavenge form the garbage dumps has drastically decreased, since people are no longer throwing them away, but collect them to be sold to children like Shafat. 

Another child, Hameed, who works as a baker in a nan shop,  said that the shop owners used to give him partially burned bread to take home after work.  Now the burned bread is sold at half price. Very rarely is there any burned bread left unsold for the workers to take home free of cost.