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Child Labor in Afghanistan; The bitter story of sweet kids


Child Labor in Afghanistan

The World Day Against Child Labor is celebrated every year on June 12 and “Let’s act on our commitments and eliminate child labor” is the theme of World Day Against Child Labour 2024.

Every year, the International Labor Organization (ILO) with its members and partners around the world celebrates the International Day Against Child Labor in order to raise awareness about the plight of child laborers and to try to eliminate this global problem.

On the occasion of this day, this organization has written on its X page (Twitter), children should learn, play, experience and create, and therefore child labor should be ended.

Child labor has always been one of the topics discussed in the United Nations and other international organizations and serious efforts have been made to prevent it, but still about 160 million children are involved in child labor and the world still needs more efforts to eradicate it. Addressing the plight of child labor worldwide requires a concerted effort to end all forms of child labor.

  • Child Labor in Afghanistan

“If I go to school, my family will have nothing to eat!” This simple but depressing statement has been said by many children in Afghanistan in recent years. They have had to choose between being uneducated or being hungry.

There are not any specific statistics about Child Labor in Afghanistan, but the fact is that hundreds of thousands of female children have been banned from education above the sixth grade due to the restrictions of the Taliban government, and thousands of other children have been denied the right to education due to extreme poverty and economic problems of their families and have been forced to do exhausting jobs.

Eleven-year-old Kader works at the city car station in ​​Kabul. He says: “I wake up at six o’clock and work until twelve, then I go to school and after school I work until nine o’clock at night. Before school, I work for a hundred Afghanis.”

Another child named Ahmed Yaser, who is 11 years old, says that he sells plastic in Takhar market. He said that he has to work in the market from morning till night to help his family: “I don’t go to school; my father is dead. I am the breadwinner of the family, my mother worked in the previous government and is now unemployed, my brother is sick. We need the money so that my brother can be treated and I can go to school.”

Child Labor in Afghanistan
Child Labor in Afghanistan: If I go to school, my family
will have nothing to eat
  • What is the suggested solution to get out of this situation?

Najibullah Zadran Babrakzai, a children’s rights activist and former head of the Children’s Rights Protection Department of the Independent Human Rights Commission of the Deposed Republic of Afghanistan says:

“Measures should be taken in this regard. A working environment must be created. When parents have work, they will not be willing to send their children to work, and besides, it should be warned and educated that children’s work has mental and physical consequences.”

He asks the world community and international institutions to provide more support to improve the situation of these children and provide practical solutions for their return to education.

The Taliban also have a very important and crucial role here to improve the situation for working children in Afghanistan; However, they cannot be blamed for all the problems that exist in Afghanistan for children, and the US and the previous government should also be blamed for the current situation. But it cannot be denied that the Taliban as the ruling government must take effective measurement to help Afghan children.

One of the immediate measures that the Taliban government can take, is to ban children from working in hard and dangerous jobs. Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum of the Islamic Emirate, Shahabuddin Delawar, has announced that the use of children in Afghanistan’s mines is prohibited. This action is a positive step, but it should be extended to all hard and dangerous jobs to protect children from serious physical and mental harm, and also be followed by providing better job opportunities for Afghan parents.

This year, the International Day against Child Labor is celebrated under the slogan “Let’s fulfill our commitments and eliminate child labor”. But is it going to remain just a slogan like hundreds of slogans and promises before? Or the international community is going to take effective steps to eradicate this worldwide problem?

Child Labor in Afghanistan
Child Labor in Afghanistan and the whole world must be eliminated.

Mohsen Shahrafiee, Analyst

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