Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Free to be a child wage slave

Asma , 10 years old , usually arrives at work at eight in the morning and leaves at eight in the evening. She often works six days a week and is paid about $2 a day. Asma operates a powerful cutting device in the poorly-lit premises for up to 12 hours a day. There is no first aid in the factory and no lunch break. None of the children know what happens to the safety pins one they have been made and none knows exactly who is employing them.
Asma is one of thousands of Bangladeshi children who work in the informal sector - which includes factories, workshops, home-based businesses and domestic employment. She and others like her are are mostly outside the reach of labour controls, being isolated in the factories and households where they work. This isolation, combined with the child's dependency on their employer, lays the ground for abuse and exploitation for which they are so poorly protected. Employers like to take on children because they can pay them less. The parents like children to work because their earnings can help pay household bills. It's a vicious cycle.

She does not complain of her plight.

"I was not forced to work here," she says shyly. "The trouble is that if I didn't my family would not have enough money to buy vegetables and we cannot live only on rice."

Asma is part of the 1.3 million children in Bangladesh who work full-time to support their family. "For her work is just a way of living - she doesn't know any other kind of life..." UN children's fund spokesman Syeedul Milky says

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