Thursday, July 2, 2015

Syria refugee child labor a 'growing, dangerous problem'

A growing number of Syrian refugee children are being pushed into the labor market to support their families and exploited, often in dangerous conditions, said a report released Thursday.

Syria's civil war has killed more than 230,000 people and forced around half the population from their homes.

The United Nations says close to four million have fled Syria as refugees, mainly to neighboring countries that struggle to cope with the influx.

The report, produced by UNICEF and Save the Children, says much more needs to be done to reverse the trend in child labor.

The report says Syria is "beset with destitution and misery," with four out of five people estimated to be living in poverty and an estimated 64.7 percent living in extreme poverty, unable to meet basic needs.

Inside Syria, it said children are contributing to family income in more than three quarters of surveyed households.

In Jordan, close to half of the refugee children are the joint or sole family breadwinners, while in some parts of Lebanon, children as young as six years old are reportedly working.

The report finds that a "spiraling number of children are employed in harmful working conditions, risking serious damage to their health and wellbeing."

It said the most vulnerable of working children are those involved in armed conflict, sexual exploitation and illicit activities including organized begging and child trafficking.

Dr Roger Hearn, Save the Children regional director, said that "as families become increasingly desperate, children are working primarily for their survival. Whether in Syria or neighboring countries, they are becoming main economic players."

And Dr Peter Salama, UNICEF regional director, noted that child labour "hinders children's growth and development as they toil for long hours with little pay, often in extremely hazardous and unhealthy environments."

Moreover, there are fears of a "lost generation," as children who work are more likely to drop out of school.

The two agencies urged the international community, host governments and civil society to undertake measures to address the problem.


1 comment:

  1. Syrian child labor a lasting problem: NGO...

    On a sweltering summer day, Walid and Ahmad sit on Hamra street with their blackened shoe shining rags between their legs.

    With wide eyes, the boys wait for customers and hope the patrons will treat them decently. “Sometimes, when you clean their shoes, they hit you,” Ahmad said. “Or they curse you,” chimed Walid as Ahmad recited a litany of vulgarities. Neither Walid nor Ahmad is in school. According to a new report published this week by UNICEF and Save the Children NGO, Walid and Ahmad’s situation is tragically common. As the Syrian civil war drags on, more and more refugee children in Lebanon and across the region are being pushed into the workforce, often toiling under mentally and physically taxing conditions.

    From field laborers to rose and candy hawkers, Syrian children now make up a ubiquitous aspect of the Lebanese labor market. According to the report, refugees as young as 6 have been put to work, and almost a third of Syrian refugee children in the labor force are under 14...........


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