Last week, a report on child labor in US tobacco fields from Human Rights Watch made it to a lot of news headlines. We might not used in reading about child labor in the US, however the data about child labor globally are shocking: The International Labor Organisation (ILO) estimates that there are about 168 million child laborers worldwide, more than half of whom are in hazardous jobs.
We have just published a study looking at child labor in a rural Egyptian community, its determinants and health impact. One hundred and ninety- nine children where interviewed and also physically examined in the community of El-Minia. Almost half of the interviewed children (45.2%) reported working, with the vast majority of the workers being male (86.7%). Most of the working children reported working on quarries (58.9%), followed by having farming jobs (21.1%). The authors report significant associations between children’s’ illiteracy and low educational levels of parents and child labor. Children with big families and those with many siblings were more likely to be working.
Working children were of high risk of health problems (like wounds, allergy, tiredness, headache, respiratory problems etc) as well as unhealthy habits (like smoking and drug taking).
What is happening in your country? Are you aware of any reports on child labor where you live? What measures are taken (or not) in order to protect children?
** This study was written by Eman Sameh Mohammed, Ashraf Abdel Azim Emis and Eman Mohammed Mahfouz