World day against child labor
June 12, 2022 will be the World Day Against Child Exploitation. For many students ( not for us because we will have the final exams), on June 12, school will be just finished and they will think about holidays and having fun. But in the world there are millions of children who, instead of playing or studying, are forced to work. To allow these children to have a happy childhood, the World Day Against Child Labor works to give every child the opportunity to study and grow in a healthy way, also establishing a minimum age to work: 15 or 14 in very poor countries, without exhausting hours or very serious risk to their health. In the nineteenth century, the writer Giovanni Verga wrote a short story “Rosso Malpelo” in which he tells of 2 children who work in dangerous conditions in a mine. There are several countries where children are forced to do hard and dangerous jobs instead of going to school.
Pakistan in one of them and Iqbal was one of kids who had to spend hours and hours knotting carpets. He was a 12 years-old boy, born into a very poor family and died at the age of twelve for unknown reasons. Many schools are dedicated to him also in Italy. One day in order to buy medicines for his brother suffering from pneumonia, he was approached by an impostor who promised him these medicines if he had made a carpet. In reality, Iqbal, who was five years old, was sold by his father to pay a debt to a clandestine carpet manufacturer who exploited the illegal work of children. From that day on, he spent his life behind a loom for ten to twelve hours a day without returning home. In 1992, Iqbal managed to escape but he did not forget his companions and participated with other boys in a demonstration against child exploitation. Iqbal left the village, was housed in an accommodation and he began to study, to travel, to participate meeting and to testify about the exploitation of child labor in his country. But on Easter 1995 this child died mysteriously. After his killing, the Pakistani government was forced to review labor laws, dozens of carpet factories were closed and many children were released. Even today, however, in Pakistan millions of children between 10 and 14 are forced to work, half of them leave school in early age and many do not even go there.
Not only in Pakistan but all over the world there are children like Iqbal. In fact, millions of children are forced to work to survive and half of them are exploited in very dangerous jobs, such as working in mines, in contact with agricultural chemicals and pesticides or with dangerous machinery.
In Africa one out three children works in agriculture and in Latin America 15-20% of children under the age of 15 work on tea plantations in Zimbabwe, in mines in Cambodia, in brick factories in Madagascar or they manufacture glass bracelets in India. And 8,000 children are beggars in the city of Dakar, Senegal.
Sexual exploitation of minors affects one million children every year.
Although child exploitation is illegal in Italy, according to the “Save the Children” association, there are many kids and adolescents who work in their family business.
I believe that children exploitation must stop because all children have the right to be free and happy, the right to play, to live their childhood carefree and to go to school because: