Child Labour: A True Horror.

 

cotton mills

I wish we could escape

From 1833 to the modern day children are forced to work!

The worst offenders in the tragedy that is child labour

child lathe worker

I must do!

are found in the Asia and Pacific region, where 122.3 million kids aged 5-14 years old are employed.

  • 49.3m in sub-Sahara Africa
  • 5.7m in Latin America  (These figures are too precise- see later)
  • 13.4m in other regions   (ILO)

South Asia which includes India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh have the heinous exploitive method of child labour called, ‘bonded labour’ which is just another word for slavery. (See India: An Indictment). We cannot put an accurate number on the scale of children affected by this foul work.

What happens to all those children caught in the horror of child labour is not dealt with adequately either, but what we can be sure about is that the use of kids in such circumstances is inhumane! A study by Tulane University (2011, USA) is cited by a number of organisations. The study found that 1.8m children work in the cocoa industry in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. That 40% of these kids are not enrolled in any education programme whilst only 5% are paid for their labour. Slavery, alive and well in Africa! (Huffington Post) (stopchildlabour.org)v

child grinder

What if I was your kid?

Of course it’s not just cocoa that these kids are forced to work in. An estimated 1m work in mines, others are forced to become domestic servants and are under the constant threat of physical and sexual abuse. The majority are found in agriculture, usually associated with subsistence farming.  Many industries make use of the cheap and easily silenced workforce: sand mines, silk, glass factories, carpet factories, the brick industry, the making of matches and fireworks, the list goes on. Tobacco farms in Malawi and the cotton farms of Uzbekistan. (UNICEF)

The US Department of Labor, (dol.gov) state that, “There are no specific international standards on forced child labour.” Why is such a scandalous situation allowed to continue? They also report that in Sudan you can buy a boy aged 7-12 for a mere $70. I am finding it hard to accept that information as a reality. I just don’t want to believe it. Also that boys from South Asia are trafficked and sold as camel jockeys in the Gulf States. I’m sitting here with a cup of tea thinking, is this how depraved we truly are?

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”

H.G.Wells

Thankfully, a number of industries are under scrutiny about how and where they produce their goods. I read that Hershey’s has come under fire because of possible involvement in the cocoa usage from Ghana and Ivory Coast. Other industrial giants are also under the microscope, such as Samsung because of dealing in China. Businesses in the UK have been questioned regarding their promotion of goods as British when in fact the goods have been made in : Africa, India or China. (Which.co.uk)

The American economics writer, P. Davidson, speaks for many when he states,

“To accept the outsourcing of high paying manufacturing jobs to the competition of countries that employ child labour and workers in sweat shop conditions at real wages per hour of labor far below the American standard is a disgrace.” (econ.bus.utk.edu)

Moreover, it is not just so-called underdeveloped countries that child labour happens. A recent report suggests that some 2000 children have been trafficked into the UK by Romanian & Bulgarian gypsy gangs for the purpose of begging or to be used in the sex industry. (Daily Mail) In the USA it is estimated that around 10,000 foreign children are trafficked into the country each year. (CIA) It is quite clear that to some, children are just another commodity to be bought and sold, just like a pair of socks.

I never thought that a statistic could shock me, but 1.2 million children trafficked each year for sexual exploitation, blew my mind. (UNICEF) Lust, depravity disguised as desire! Where are all the politically correct, all the human rights activists, all the do-gooders and the entire liberal minded? Come out, I say, come out! Come out from your swamp and howl at your politicians until you’re breathless. Or hide in your compartmentalized bog where you fiddle with God politics. It is a staggering figure, be ashamed be very ashamed.

I am stunned having read various reports from several countries of the extent of trafficking. This is a huge industry, making billions of dollars, $$$$ and it goes on right under our noses. And politicians, the guardians of our rights, I await their voice raised each day in condemnation of such a heinous crime. The children have been waiting since 1989! That is 24 years X 1.2 million. You do the maths!

I have no intention of demeaning the horror of child sexual exploitation but don’t these guys have hands? Can’t they buy a blow up doll!

Whilst doing my research I found that June 12th is World Day against child labour, I had never heard of it. I am not ashamed; it’s just that it is not well publicized. Why not? The question now, is can we put the date on the map?

  • Why doesn’t every church, worldwide, have a poster outside paid for by the congregation?
  • Why hasn’t UNICEF paid for an advertisement?
  • Local councils could promote the day through their regular circulars.
  • Why don’t human rights lawyers pay for an advert?
  • Why don’t newspapers mention it a few days beforehand?
  • Why don’t schools make it an activity day?
  • Why doesn’t some big advertising agency design an advert for free, actors perform it free and TV companies air it for nothing?

As you can see lots could be done but, but, but, only where there is a will. You have to think beyond ‘me’ to make free truly free!

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