Child labour conditions
by Michael Ireland, Assist News
“Beyond despicable.” That’s how child labour industry conditions are described in a new report.
The words “beyond despicable” are more than appropriate to describe how more than 200 million children, as young as five years old, are trapped in “horrible and tragic” labor conditions.
Gospel For Asia in conjunction with World Day Against Child Labour, spotlighting the ‘horrible and tragic’ plight of children forced to work in horrific conditions. GFA is boosting awareness of the tragic situation, according to a soon-to-be-released report by the agency (www.gfa.org).
The annual World Day Against Child Labour highlights the plight of child labourers and campaigns to stop the labour exploitation of children.
GFA’s Child Labour: Not Gone, But Forgotten report, which will be released next month, reveals startling facts about child labour, including up to a quarter of hazardous work such as dangerous mining is done by children under age 12.
“It’s a horrible and tragic story,” said GFA founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan. “Around the world, over 200 million children as young as five years old are employed in often dangerous conditions, and a majority of those children are in forced labour or enslaved. As the Church, it is our responsibility to intercede for the exploited children and do what we can to help them.”
According to GFA, nations with the largest numbers of child labourers include Bangladesh, which is ranked number one, and the African countries of Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Ethiopia. Top “occupations” for children include working in the clothing industry, agriculture, mining, and brick making. Others work as street vendors, beggars, or garbage dump scavengers.
“The worst forms of child labour are slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, and forced recruitment of children in armed conflict, prostitution, pornography, and other criminal activities,” Yohannan said.
In South Asia, Lakshmi’s 10-year-old sister works in bonded labour – security for repayment of a debt – seven days a week, starting at 7 am and finishing at 9 pm. “Her employer treats her very badly,” Lakshmi said. He hits her if he thinks she’s working slowly; if she talks to the other children, he yells at her. He comes looking for her if she’s sick and can’t go to work. “All I want is to bring my sister home.” she said. It would cost $8.50 to free his sister from bonded labour – but Lakshmi’s family is too poor to afford it.
An investigation by the International Justice Mission into one brick-making factory in South Asia revealed dozens of children were forced to work 16-hour days, seven days a week. “The children were beaten and abused if they were caught playing when they were supposed to be working,” Yohannan said.