Introduce the topic of Child Slavery
1. Is there anything wrong with children working?
Not all children’s work is bad. Many children work – they do chores around the house, paper rounds, babysitting, work in shops etc. This work can help children learn new skills, develop responsibility and money management and get experience in a work environment in preparation for future employment and participation in society. But not all work may have a positive effect on children’s lives if it damages their health, prevents them from studying and hinder their growth and development.
2. How many children are working fulltime across the world?
It is estimated that globally there are 400 million slave children. Most of them are involved in fulltime employment, and working beyond a normal working day of 8 hours, or working in hazardous circumstances that cause ill health and chronic disease and which sometimes lead to their death.
3. What is child slavery?
Child slavery is defined as exploitative and it involves:
- too many hours spent working
- work that causes physical or mental stress
- poor and dangerous working conditons
- inadequate or no pay
- work that interferes with children's access to education
- work that undermines children's self-esteem
4. What are the most typical forms of child slavery?
- working in sweatshops
- working in agrigulture
- working in mining
- working as scavengers
- collecting rubbish in dumps
- selling children for their organs
- trafficking children
- debt bondage
- child soldiers
- procuring or forcing children into illicit activities
Watch the documentary: ANIL'S STORY
Anil works full-time making glass bangles in the confines of the small room he and his family live in. He burns his fingers in the flame he works at and the gas fumes are damaging his eyes and make it hard for him to breathe.
Anil works so that his younger brothers and sisters can go to school but wishes he could have carried on with school and got an education so he could get a proper job.
Tapescript - ANYL’S STORY
My name is Anyl. I’m 13 years old. I wake up at 5:00 every day. I get washed and dressed and then I start work. I work at home. I do the joining work on glass bangles. When the bangle’s come from the factory to our house, the bangle isn’t joined, it’s not a forged circle. So I have to hold it in the flame, to stick the ends together.
Women wear these bangles. When you finish it, they go to the factory for decoration. Then, they go to the shops and markets, and then, women buy them.
This is a bangle. I make about 15 bangles a day.
There are a lot of problems in my house. Only few of us are working. My father got very ill and we had to spend all the money we got on medicine. Now he’s not here any more and things are very difficult. We used to have a house. Then my father broke his leg and we didn’t have any money, so we had to sell our house. Then he got very ill with cancer, and then he died.
Before my husband got ill, all the children went to school and were able to play. But, after he got ill, the old ones had to start working. School costs about 80 rupees a month in fees each child, and then we have to pay for pens, and notebooks, and textbooks on top of that. So, we just can’t earn enough to send all the children to school.
There are seven people in my family. That’s my mother, my sister and my four brothers. I fight with them a lot. They are mischievous.
When I first started this work, I burnt my whole hand, not just my fingers; but slowly I’ve got used to the work. I still burn my fingers but because I’ve burnt them so much the skin’s got tough. So, now it doesn’t hurt so much. When I burn my fingers I feel like I just want to stop working but because I have to work, I keep going. If I don’t work, we can’t afford to eat.
And the flames get into my eyes, my eyes start to burn and I can’t sleep properly. I get a lot of diseases. I’ve had a fever for the past few days.
I wish I could go to school. Then, I’d have friends and I’d be able to play with the other children. What is there in this work? At the end of the day, I earn 4 p per bundle, so only earn around 40p a day, but if I could go to school, I could learn and get a proper job and earn more.
I imagine England to be full of big houses and good streets, with lots of children, and good playgrounds for children. Their lives must be very different to mine. They must wear good clothes there, I don’t wear good clothes. They must be playing in clean playgrounds, I’m just running around here playing in the mud.
In the evenings, I do some more work and then we go to bed. All my family sleep together in this room. We sleep there on the earth.
After watching the documentary, hold a discussion with students
5. What causes child slavery?
The following factors below cause child slavery, yet this is a spiral and in their turn these same factors end up being its consequence, bringing about a never-ending situation.
- Poor parents' wages and parents' unemployment
- Inadequate education
- Deteriorating labour standards
- Low level of Unionisation
- Coorporations' fierce competitiveness on the market, seeking to lower costs and raise profits
- Governments and international organisations' political and economic interests
- Our consumerism
- Our indifference
After discussion, talk about how we can get involved and see what actions we can take
- Get informed
- Associate with other young people who fight against this evil
- Denounce what is happening at school, in the streets, on the radio...
- Talk about this with your friends and family
- Participate in pacific marches, demonstrations, meetings against injustice
- Make posters and put them in your class and school
- Write letters to newspapers, international organisations and governments demanding action to stop child slavery