[size=52]Child labor in Iraq reaches dangerous levels and needs laws to save childhood[/size]
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Investigation / Ahmed Abdel-Saheb Karim
The increasing rate of child labor in Iraq and warnings against their exploitation in immoral acts and terrorism
The economic and security conditions, the political conflict, the financial and administrative corruption that hits all government institutions, nepotism, the high cost of living, and the lack of state support for citizens and people with limited incomes contributed greatly to the fact that many families made their children enter the labor market in order to Obtaining a living and the increase in the number of children entering the labor market despite the legal and social prohibitions and the risks they may face and the hard work they are involved in and the possibility of their exploitation by drug-promoting gangs and terrorist groups to carry out acts contrary to childhood values.
Kazem Zayer is an 11-year-old child who works as a porter in Shorja. He says:
I have been working in the Shorja market since I was 8 years old, because I live in a large family. Among several things, the most important of which are the high temperatures in the summer that reach 50 degrees, as well as the large weights of the loads and bullying a number of customers and car drivers, where these things reach insults, insults and beatings because we are young and they are flexing their muscles, and there are some customers who cut Part of the agreed amount. It is our wish that the state will turn to us and save us from this difficult reality
And in one of the streets also in Al-Shorja market, the largest market in Iraq, we found a child lying on the sidewalk selling tissues, and next to him was his colleague who sold water and cigarettes. They are (Mohammed Ahmed) and (Alaa Muwafaq) school friends from the residents of one of the slums. They are students. In the fifth grade of primary school, where Muhammad and my colleague go out every day during the summer vacation to work in the market because my father is dead and I have five brothers and sisters and my colleague Alaa and his father is old and the care salary is not enough and he also has five brothers where we provide a portion From the family’s needs, we also collect an amount of water to buy clothes and bags for us and our brothers during school hours and during work hours. We work after work in the market, and thank God for this. Our wishes are to complete our studies and excel and live in peace.
Half of Iraqi children face conditions of deprivation, poor education, health care, and poor living conditions
Professor (Ahmed Al-Kinani) is an activist in civil society organizations that are concerned with the defense of childhood, except for my work in the organization. Also, as a lawyer, I face many heart-breaking cases for many children, for example, during one of the tours to provide aid in a popular, densely populated Baghdad, and there were many From poor families we see many children selling water in the streets or selling cigarettes and sweets and pushing the cart in the market, and young children at the age of six years selling bags of nilot (gluing), and there are children who practice the profession of begging and some steal, and through the existing statistics there is a percentage A large number of children are deprived of education, health care, and a good living, and they enter the labor market when they are young. We find that this percentage is very large, reaching one out of every two children, at a rate of 50%. We did not find a law or a real decision to save the child and childhood
The child Ammar Rabie, 13 years old, says:
I am one of the displaced families and my father is a blind man. I work in the Bayaa market because it is a large market. I have a caravan and sell sweets and sometimes pastries or fruits and vegetables in order to support my family and my sisters and my blind father. The market is sometimes fickle, the sale is good and sometimes Sometimes we cannot bring a toothpick home, thank God anyway. I used to dream of continuing my studies and obtaining a certificate, but this is the case in Iraq.
Abu Muhammad Khalfa says: “Our work in construction is very hard and requires great effort, and we see in the ruler children the age of flowers, and I personally do not want to work for children in this dangerous and difficult profession, but what do I do when the child comes and says I want to work in order to spend on My family and my mother are sick, and we do not have any financial income, so we have to work, but with very light work so that he does not have any accidents, and I say why the state does not pay attention to these children.
The natural place for a child is school, not this business
The educational professor Muhammad al-Lami says that the main reason for the increase in child labor is the large number of wars that our country has gone through and the sectarian actions that followed, the entry of ISIS, displacement and political conflicts. All of these things led to crises for many families as a result of the miserable economic situation and the real place of children It is the school, not the work, so the government and all its institutions must take their role seriously and rehabilitate the children and organize transactions to give salaries to children from poor families or to include them in courses and workshops within the program of the unemployed in the fields of electricity, carpentry and blacksmithing
The prevalence of drug trafficking and drug abuse among adolescents
Lawyer Saeed Karim believes that the most important problems facing children, especially in poor families, is their exploitation by drug dealers and sexual exploitation. It leads to the delinquency of some children and contributes to the promotion and transportation of drugs, in addition to the exploitation of children through sexual abuse, as well as their employment in suspicious places related to prostitution and the demand for the activation of laws criminalizing this work and holding those responsible for exploiting children to work in these immoral acts.
As for Ms. Faryal Al-Jawahiri, a human rights activist, she says that the Iraqi law regulated the child labor clause in the text of Article VI/3, which states (all manifestations of child labor must be eliminated). The law also sets the working age at (15) years as a minimum, in order not to Children are exposed to many things that affect their childhood, and the state should also take into account the right of childhood and not make the child head towards the abyss, leave school, and turn to selling water and tissues, and perhaps contraband, alcohol and drugs, and become a time bomb that destroys society if it is exploited. By gangs and criminals
… And in conclusion, the International Labor Organization and UNICEF in Iraq confirmed in a joint statement that children “constitute the majority of about 4.5 million Iraqis who are at risk of poverty due to the effects of political conflicts and the effects of the Corona pandemic and financial crises in events and creating a miserable childhood, so it is on the state And its legislators are to issue laws that protect children and childhood, and hold accountable those who exploit children, as well as parents who neglect their children, and that we are a young state compared to other countries, and we have a large percentage of children, adolescents and youth, and this is great energies if the state exploits these energies And direct it in the right direction.
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