More than 168 million children work worldwide. This figure has been reduced in recent years, but “we cannot be satisfied, because the right place for children is school and the playground.” So says Ana Muñoz, spokesperson for the Salesian Mission Office in Madrid. Behind the figures lie hidden stories of broken childhoods, and the faces of children who have never had a schoolbag in their lives.
Salesian missionaries are to be found in marketplaces around the world, near the brick factories … in all those places where millions of children work every day. “They talk with employers and families to help them understand the importance of the fact that children ought to go to school every day and have time to play,” adds Ms Muñoz. In many cases, moreover, the Salesians run evening schools to enable the child workers to study.
There are many reasons for child labour: poverty, lack of education, broken families, local traditions … The children offer cheap labour, because they are paid less. “And they are also silent workers, because they are not aware of their rights,” adds the spokesperson for the Mission Office in Madrid.
Another serious issue is that of forced labour. Approximately 5.5 million children in the world are working because they are forced to do so. These are children who are forced to work and are exploited. In many cases they work as slaves. We have come across children working in mines, textile factories, in brick factories, on vast farms or as domestic slaves. In many cases, these children become victims of human trafficking. This is the reality of over one million children in the world, according to the International Labour Organization.
June 12, is International Day Against Child Labour. The Salesian Mission Office in Madrid wants the world to remember all boys and girls, and demands an end to child labour and child trafficking.
The Mission Office also invites all interested parties to participate in the launch of the documentary “No estoy en venta” (I’m not for sale), and the round table on trafficking in human beings that will follow the screening, scheduled for 24 June in Madrid, at 6.00 p.m. (GMT +2), in the Auditorium of the CaixaForum.
Source: Info ANS