Working children are victims of the sick economy and culture

Working children are victims of the sick economy and culture

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Child Labor

The International Labor Organization has declared June 12 as the International Day for the Elimination of Child Labor, to protect children and prevent their exploitation.

Poverty and cultural problems in different ethnicities, such as intertwined threads, are the factor in the formation of child labor, which causes the child to be sacrificed physically, mentally and even sexually. One of these jobs is garbage collection and work in underground workshops, where the existence of systematic corruption in waste separation systems and the mafia has become an important factor in the emergence of this type of work and  sometimes children in the official waste separation centers do garbage collection under the supervision of municipal contractors, and according to statistics released last year by ISPA, 15- to 17-year-old garbage collectors make up about 30% of children who collect garbage, and the number of people is between 11 and 12-year-old is 23 percent. The working hours of these people are very high and continue until late at night.

However, according to Article 79 of the Labor Law, the employment of persons under 15 years of age is strictly prohibited.

According to surveys by the “Pooyesh Child Friendly Association”, many children work for garbage collection centers or in person on the outskirts of the city.

Here, you can find narrated story by several children in the garbage dump.

Nearby, children gain money in the worst form  

Hussein and Hassan’s father own a garbage separation garage near Islamabad, and these two nine- and ten-year-old boys bend in the trash every day from 7 a.m. to noon to collect garbage.

The two brothers are sitting in a chair in modest clothes, and it is clear that the summer sun has burned their gentle and innocent faces. These children do not study, because their father is not interested in their education and has not even sought to get a blue card for their citizens. According to a member of the “Pooyesh Child Friendly Association”, the father’s income situation is not bad and there are many workers in this garage, but these children live under severe financial pressure.

Alireza is another child who goes up and down the neighborhoods of Islamabad every morning in a wheelbarrow several times to find and sell the trash. He supports the house with his small hands, the house whose parents are disabled, the father due to old age and mother due to illness.

He is short and has a smiling face. Today, he came to the association without a wheelbarrow and folded and hugged only a large sack. It is a class, but it lags behind despite the great interest in studying during school holidays and the start of online classes. because he does not have a SIM card and mobile phone to attend classes and therefore spends more time working.

A smile always shows up in the corner of his face and he says with the same sobriety: “My job is to go and look in the trash, but I don’t use the gloves because my hand is irritated, that it dries.

I do not know how it is, but I can’t use it, I think I am allergic, then I take your waste to any shop that buys more because I do not work for a particular place. Of course, this is why I was often beaten by other people in the garage.

For example, there was someone in a white van who was always following me to pick up my wheelbarrow. He grabbed me once and threatened me. I even went to the police station once and the police argued with him, which did not bother me much the next day.”

Alireza talks about a friend and classmate of his school who, after school, from sunset to three in the morning, goes to the upper areas of Tehran with other children in the nearby garage to explore the city’s garbage for a piece of bread, a boy who was more studious than Alireza.

Now, with the start of the summer school holidays, these children spend more time at work, and are even exploited by other members of the household, like Alireza, who provides living expenses despite having two older brothers. He protests against this behavior of his brothers and says: ” my monthly income is one million, with which I used to spend on rent and house, but my two brothers only pay for the house, and that one of my brothers, who is married, has nothing to do with us anymore. Now this is the new house we live in but our neighbors are all protesting that the yard smells stench, they say it is because of my wheelbarrow.”

In these years, criticism and research in the field of child labor and garbage collection have intensified, but the work process of these children has not changed and it is hoped that a more serious look will be taken at this issue.

Author: Nastaran Khorfe

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