Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Forgotten children

The AFP news agency has a shocking report on the lost generation of child workers in Tripoli:

Officials estimate that at least 100,000 children, or one in 10 up to 18 years of age, work in Lebanon, mainly in the agriculture sector or as mechanics as well as in jewelery workshops and sweatshops.

"The 10 to 15 age group is the most affected," Nabil Watfa of the International Labour Organisation office in Beirut told AFP. "But children as young as eight have also been noted to work.

"These kids, the majority of them boys, work handling chemicals, in garages, in metal-welding shops, carpentry, marble cutting and in farms where they are exposed to pesticides."

Most of the child labourers hail from the northern regions of Akkar and Tripoli, where many families live below the poverty line.
Others work in the eastern Bekaa Valley and in the south of the country, where poverty is also endemic and the main industry is agriculture, including tobacco plantations.

In Bab al-Tebbene, a rough neighbourhood in the northern city of Tripoli, a majority of the mechanics or scrap metal shops that line the streets employ children.

The kids can be seen welding, using dangerous machinery, or handling toxic chemicals, all with no protective gear.

Picture: Ahmed Saifeddin Danash (top) works at a mechanics shop and Yunes Awad (above) pauses during his work


Nate M. said...

It's too bad that so many of these "news" agencies that are so powerful (and consequently) and undemocratic are accountable to their shareholders.
Otherwise there would be a little more money available.
No wonder why corporations go overseas. There are no child labor laws there (probalby no healthcare either).
I am putting this website on mine.


Lebanese socialist said...

Good man! Despite the power of the corporate news the truth still gets out.