Refugee Syrian children being forced into child labor
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/12/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The price of the civil war in Syria has been brought against the nation's children. Those lucky enough to have fled their native land to take refuge in Lebanon, finds themselves at the mercy of forced labor. A survey has found that at least 50,000 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon are working. Many work as long as 12 hours a day in order to pay for food and shelter for their families.
Many Syrian children living in Lebanon are forced to work at construction sites for as long as 12 hours a day.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Syrian refugees now comprise a quarter of the Lebanon's population. More than a million Syrian refugees live in Lebanon currently More than 160,000 of their countrymen have died as a result of the ongoing civil war.
Only 50 percent of Syrian refugee children in the region attend school, and only 30 percent in Lebanon, CARE said.
Those working as street vendors say they are earning less than $5 a day. Other children work at coffee shops and markets or on farms and construction sites. Some of the children say they commute for hours on buses into the capital of Beirut.
A 14-year-old Syrian refugee says he makes about $6 a day as a shoe shiner. He picks up work as he walks up and down the streets of Beirut's Hamra shopping district.
He says his money goes towards feeding his younger siblings. Asked if he would like to return to school, he said: "God willing, when I return to Syria."
Other children beg, often with family members. Others work as car valets.
In Jordan, where nearly 600,000 Syrian refugees live, child labor has doubled nationwide to 60,000 since the start of the war, CARE said this week.
CARE is giving cash to families in Jordan and Lebanon, which has banned refugee camps, to allow children to attend school rather than work.
However, the funds remain insufficient." "The conditions are harsh and safety and security of the children is not guaranteed," Johanna Mitscherlich, Regional Emergency Communications Coordinator for CARE Jordan, said in an email. Housing there is inadequate and families struggle by on one or two meals a day.
"There are also quite a few children who have injuries from the war or who are still traumatized and can therefore neither work nor go to school," she said.
This week marks International Day against Child Labor with about 168 million children working worldwide, down by a third since 2000, according to the International Labor Organization.
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