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Facts About Child Labor in Algeria

Algeria — a country characterized by political instability — has made some strides to address the worst forms of child labor. However, according to the Department of Labor (DOL), “The government has not sufficiently prohibited the use of children in illicit activities or determined by national law or regulation the types of work that are hazardous for children to perform.” Keep reading to learn the top seven facts about child labor in Algeria.

7 Facts About Child Labor in Algeria

  1. Although the legal minimum age for work eligibility is 16, 6.7 percent of children in Algeria (ages 5 to 14) are currently working. This amounts to more than 413,000 working children.
  2. While there has been no comprehensive study that provides more insight into the scope of each sector of work, it is known that children in Algeria work on farms, usually harvesting olives; in the street, vending, collecting plastics and even begging. Others perform various services for businesses and workshops and do domestic work. However, the worst type of child labor is in the form of commercial sexual exploitation that often results in human trafficking and participation in drug smuggling.
  3. Granting children access to education is known to help reduce rates of child labor. Algeria offers free public schooling for anyone with a valid birth certificate and 92.3 percent of children attend school. However, the lack of teachers trained to help with students who have disabilities and the existing stigma keep many children with disabilities from attending school. Additionally, many migrant children do not have birth certificates making them ineligible. For these reasons, both of these populations are particularly vulnerable to child labor.
  4. Child labor is often associated with immigrant communities in Algeria. Migrant children who are subject to work are primarily from the sub-Saharan region of Africa and are most likely to be forced into sexual exploitation and domestic work. Additionally, migrants from Niger are known to bring children “rented” from smuggling networks along with them while begging in the streets.
  5. Fortunately, the Algerian government recognizes this as a major problem and has been working to end child labor within their borders. In 2016 the government began a campaign titled The National Commission for the Prevention of and Fight Against Child Labor, creating radio and television programs that spread awareness about the negative effects of child labor and working to bring that message into religious sermons. The initiative also offers assistance to families in need, in the hope that lessening their financial stress will reduce the likelihood of the children being sent to work. While this campaign is a step in the right direction, there is no evidence on how effective it has been, and the Bureau of International Labor Affairs considers it to be only a “moderate advancement” along the path to end child labor.
  6. The Bureau of International Labor states that in the fight to end child labor it is essential not only to create relevant policy but also to assign the issue to a centralized government body or authority in order to stay up to date on the issue and monitor the effectiveness of the policy. Algeria has successfully done this by delegating the issue to the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare’s Labor Inspection Directorate. This has resulted in advancements such as the Ministry of Labor organizing training sessions for 136 judges on the legal framework for the protection of children.
  7. The government has made a difference through policy as well with the National Action Plan for the Prevention of and Fight Against Trafficking in Persons. While this policy is more focused on the specific issue of human trafficking, this inevitably intertwined with child labor and has resulted in 79 prosecuted child labor cases.

Madeline Lyons
Photo: Flickr

Female Victims of Sex Trafficking in India Get a Second ChanceMillions of women and children in India are victims of sex trafficking. The National Crimes Records Bureau states that a girl falls victim to sex trafficking every eight minutes in India. Many are told that they will be assisted in finding a job or even a potential marriage to alleviate them of their poverty, making them trusting of traffickers and easier targets for prostitution.

In 2014, police in India recorded 2,604 sex trafficking cases, but more than three-quarters of the traffickers accused went unpunished. The Better India states that “less than 50 child prostitution cases in a year lead to successful convictions on average.” Current laws are not effective enough in preventing human trafficking in India.

The Dutch anti-trafficking group Free a Girl created a new approach to the sex trafficking issue in India, called The School for Justice. It launched in April of this year with 19 women who were victims of sex trafficking in India. Not only are these women training to be lawyers but they are also gaining empowerment in a community in which they are ostracized.

The program financially and emotionally supports the process. It enrolls them into a university so that they can receive a bachelor’s degree in law. The rescued girls live in a house together while receiving food and an education to prepare them for a future career. For each student in The School for Justice program, it costs $3,400 per year which is covered by donors for the first two years.

Having women who were once trafficked as prostitutes become members of India’s legal system is a huge step for the country. Not only are females that are trafficked not welcome back with their families, they are also more likely to be arrested. These women are not receiving the help that they need once they escape sex trafficking in India.

The main goal of The School for Justice is to provide the help and resources needed to create prosecutors out of the victims of trafficking in India. This could be a small change that eventually leads to holding traffickers accountable for their actions and keeping women and children out of trafficking. Per The Better India, “not only will these brave women finally be able to chart a course of their own life but they will also be saving the lives of others like themselves in the process.”

Mackenzie Fielder
Photo: Flickr

Victims of Trafficking
In addition to their hardships as victims of trafficking, Bangladeshi girls sold to India used to endure living in shelters for prolonged periods of time while waiting for travel permits back to their home country. The Bangladesh High Commission has recently been able to accelerate the repatriation process.

Human trafficking has been a major concern in Bangladesh for many years. Prof. Zakir Hossein from the University of Chittagong summarizes the key issues contributing to trafficking as “poverty, social exclusion, gender-based discrimination, widespread illiteracy, lack of awareness and poor governance.”

According to a 2010 report by the Protection Project, between 10,000 and 20,000 girls and women become victims of trafficking to India, Pakistan, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates annually, in addition to internal trafficking. The report notes that traffickers also target boys and men.

The Indian state of West Bengal is the hub of human trafficking in India. It shares a long, mostly unfenced border with Bangladesh, which facilitates cross-border trafficking. Many girls tell similar stories: traffickers take advantage of their desperate economic situation and lure them with jobs in India. Once they cross the border, they are sold into modern-day slavery—mostly brothels, but also domestic, farming or textile work.

But, even if rescued, the girl’s hardships do not end there; the girls wait in shelters for their travel permits back home, which is a long and complicated bureaucratic process.

Even after founding an inter-country task force to organize repatriations, many girls stayed in shelters for two to three years. Shiny Padiyara, the superintendent of a shelter operated by Rescue Foundation, describes how waiting affected the girls: “They would get aggressive and in 2015, some girls broke a lot of things and a few ran away,” she said.

As the Thomas Reuters Foundation reports, the Bangladesh High Commission has become increasingly aware of the issue. The commission recently worked on accelerating the repatriation of Bangladeshi girls and women. Mosharaf Hossein, head of the consular section of the commission, cites that he “found girls and also boys from Bangladesh who were suffering a lot, waiting for long [times] to return home, because of our slow investigation,” including girls who had stayed in a government shelter for seven years.

The commission has been able to cut waiting periods significantly to about two to four weeks. In the past six months, over 200 victims of trafficking returned to Bangladesh—the highest number of repatriations in this time span. These girls finally reunited with their families, getting the chance to heal from their traumatic experiences and rebuild their lives.

Lena Riebl

Photo: Flickr

Human Trafficking
Anuradha Koirala was motivated by pain. The 67-year-old Nepali native was just chosen to receive the Padma Shri, one of India’s most prestigious service awards, for her role in fighting human trafficking and freeing thousands of girls from the illicit sex trade. She was instrumental in rescuing more than 12,000 sex trafficking victims, and her work saved more than 45,000 more from a similar fate. Koirala said it was the “unbearable pain of victims” that motivated her in this mission.

During a phone interview, Koirala said, “When I see their pain — their mental pain as well as physical pain — it is so troubling that I cannot turn myself away. This gives me strength to fight and root this crime out.”

A Life Built on Service

Koirala’s life has been devoted to service. In her early years, Anuradha Koirala found her inspiration in the work of Mother Teresa. Educated at St. Joseph Convent School in India, she dedicated more than 20 years of her life toward teaching children. Still, she felt a deeper calling. Nepal was a hotbed for sexual slavery, and Koirala decided to be a part of the force fighting human trafficking.

In 1993, Koirala left her teaching career and founded Maiti Nepal to support victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking. She recognized that these victims are often stigmatized by their families and communities, and her priority was to set up a sanctuary home.

A Home for All Women

The word Maiti refers to the mother’s family. The word has sentimental value for Nepali women, meaning that they belong to their husbands forever. Unfortunately, victims of sex trafficking often find themselves homeless and unable to be married. Maiti Nepal changes that by providing a haven, a home, to these women and girls. Regardless of whether they are married or not, Maiti Nepal is a sanctuary for the exploited and violated.

Koirala’s Legacy

Under Koirala’s leadership, Maiti Nepal currently consists of 14 homes actively fighting human trafficking by focusing on prevention, counseling and training for girls at high risk. The girls receive training in domestic skills and are provided opportunities to participate in women’s empowerment programs. Maiti Nepal also has two hospices and a school that educates approximately 1,000 children.

Maiti Nepal also focuses on awareness campaigns that seek public support against trafficking of children and women, provide legal support to victims and work with police to rescue victims and apprehend traffickers.

India’s Padma Shri honor is the most recent in a long line of achievements for Koirala. Since she began her cause, she has been the recipient of 38 national and international awards for her efforts toward fighting human trafficking.

Gisele Dunn

Photo: Flickr

trafficking in thailand
In a strange case, nine surrogate babies were found in “suspicious circumstances” in a Bangkok condo, raising suspicion over possible human trafficking in Thailand. While there were no birth certificates for the children, they were all under good health and had a personal nanny when they were found. Nevertheless, the suspicious story has only gained traction as the ministry continues to investigate the case.

The father, an alleged “Japanese businessman” who wishes to remain nameless, is under primary investigation for possible plans to traffick the babies, as well as to determine if the surrogacy of the babies — who, lawyers claim, all have the same mother — was illegal. Nevertheless, the man’s lawyer remains adamant that he loves his children and even bought properties, bonds and insurance under their names.

This most recent report comes just days after allegations were made that an Australian couple abandoned their Down syndrome surrogate baby while taking home his perfectly healthy twin sister. Thailand, which has been under recent attack as the “go-to” place for commercial (illegal) surrogacy due to strict laws being enacted in neighboring countries, may now hold a new law prohibiting the act in lieu of recent events.

Prohibiting commercial surrogacy, the law would provide punishment for violators, including up to 10 years in prison and fines for up to 200,000 baht (roughly $6,200.) While many countries have already tightened their laws regarding surrogacy, most often with an implanted embryo from unbiological parents, other countries such as Thailand, Ukraine and India have become almost tourist destinations for parents looking for low-cost surrogate mothers.

While Thailand is a growing country, more than 13 percent of its population is still living below the poverty line. Due to lack of strict legislation, human trafficking is a growing problem in the country. And while the unemployment rate is still less than 2 percent of the population, the percentage of those living in poverty — and being forced into human trafficking — is only continuing to increase.

The nannies and surrogate mother found with the nine babies have all been questioned, and the babies have been taken to a state-run nursing home in Nonthaburi’s Pak Kret district. Under the Child Protection Act, the babies will be taken care of by the ministry until their families or guardians have been found. As the investigation continues, possibilities of human trafficking and commercial surrogacy could result in legal action toward any guilty parties.

– Nick Magnanti

Sources: World Vision, World Bank, The Star, UCA News, Japan Times
Photo: Radionz

#endviolence
It is an unfortunate reality that children around the world have to endure violence every day. Violence not only physically harms children but it also mentally harms them. Children have the right to be protected against violence, and ending violence against children is possible.

UNICEF is part of a global movement to end violence against children called #ENDviolence.

Children with disabilities, who are of ethnic minorities, who are orphaned and a part of other marginalized groups are often more vulnerable to violence. Younger children are more at risk with certain types of violence and it begins to change as they get older. Child refugees, abandoned migrant children and displaced children are also more at risk of violence.

Children often endure violence by people they know like their parents, other relatives, teachers, caretakers, employers and law enforcers.

There are different forms of violence that children often go through which consist of bullying, sexual assault, armed violence, acid labor, trafficking, gender- based violence, cyber- bullying, gang violence, child marriage and physically and emotionally violent child discipline.

Here are a few facts about violence:
1. 41 percent of homicides occur among 10 to 29- year olds each year.
2. Slavery, prostitution, trafficking, child labor and dangerous work are all different kinds of violence.
3. In 2012 there were at least 3,600 attacks on students, teachers and schools.
4. Insults, rejection, isolation, threats and emotional indifference are all acts of violence that mentally harm children.
5. Nearly half of 15 to 19- year olds think it is justified that a husband beat his wife under certain circumstances.
6. 20 percent of women and 5-10 percent of men report of being sexually abused as a child.

UNICEF created the hashtag #ENDviolence on Twitter and Instagram to help inform its users of the violence going on globally. Be a part of the act and get involved through UNICEF’s website, Twitter and Instagram.

— Priscilla Rodarte

Sources: UNICEF 1, UNICEF 2, UNICEF 3, UNICEF 4
Photo: Global Violence Online

Online Child Trafficking
While technology provides many benefits to an ever-globalizing world, it also has several down falls. With technology comes the digital marketplace, including online black markets. Throughout China and the world, traffickers, doctors and parents are using the Internet to sell children and babies for cash.

A young couple from southern China was arrested last week for posting their baby for sale online, International Business Times (IBT) reports.  This child was priced at 40,000 Yuan, about $6,500 USD. A child trafficking activist who –pretending to be an interest buyer – intercepted the advertisement, alerted authorities and met the father at a nearby hospital where he was then arrested. The parents claimed they intended to put the child up for adoption, but were unaware of the proper procedures.

A similar incidence occurred a month earlier. Another couple sold their daughter for 50,000 Yuan via an online auction. The couple then used the money to purchase material items such as shoes and Apple products. According to the Telegraph, the parents expressed that selling the child was in the child’s own interests: “We did not give the baby away for money but to give [the baby] more security.”

Doctors have also been caught selling newborn children, though these transactions are not necessarily online. Just recently, an obstetrician from Fuping was arrested for selling a newborn child to traffickers after convincing the mother that the baby was too ill to survive. Under these false pretenses, the mother willingly gave the child over to the hospital. Shortly after, the mother changed her mind, demanded the baby back and called the police. According to the Daily Mail Online, police are investigating at least seven similar cases in the region.

Online trafficking represents the newest phase of a longstanding problem in China. Child trafficking rings have been operating for years, generating outlandish profits. In August, authorities broke up a major trafficking network spanning more than four Chinese provinces and trafficking ten children annually, says IBT. The willingness of parents to sell their children to traffickers stems from factors such as deep poverty and lack of education.

– Mallory Thayer

Sources: The Daily Mail, International Business Times

Modern Day Slavery UK Government Freedom in Work
Although slavery has been abolished in the United States for around 150 years, slaves still exist in the world today. Currently, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates there are around 21 million people in slavery across the world.

What is modern day slavery?

  • Trafficking for sexual exploitation
  • Forced labor of children as domestic workers
  • Forced labor of girls in the garment industry
  • Unpaid agricultural work
  • Child marriage
  • Debt bondage
  • Forced labor
  • Descent-based slavery (born into slavery)

One young victim reflects on her experience as a slave:

“I was very afraid, but had no other option than to stay at my workplace. The house where I was sent as a housemaid was occupied by a large family. I was forced to work both in the house and in a shop. I had to work for 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. None of the people in the home were supportive, and I was tortured on many occasions and in different ways.”

5 important facts about slavery:

  1. 90 percent of slavery is exploitation done by individuals and companies, while the remaining 10 percent is through forced work by the state, rebel military groups or prisons.
  2. Although slavery exists within every country, more than half of today’s 21 million slaves are found in Asia.
  3. 55 percent of slaves are women and children, since these populations are vulnerable and easily exploited.
  4. Human trafficking ranks as the third most profitable global crime, behind drug and arms dealings. In 2005, illegal profits from forced labor amounted to more than $44 billion.
  5. Forced labor impedes economic development and perpetuates poverty. For example, people in forced labor lose at least $21 billion each year in unpaid wages and recruitment fees.

The United Kingdom (UK) government launched a program to combat slavery in July. The Work in Freedom program aims to prevent 100,000 girls and women across South Asia from entering into labor trafficking. Through the Department for International Development and the ILO, £9.75 million will be invested in the Work for Freedom program over five years.

How will the Work for Freedom program combat slavery?

Millions of men and women from poor communities in Asia migrate to find employment and to help their families financially. The Work for Freedom project aims to tackle known trafficking routes to prevent these men and women from being exploited.

Since most of the trafficking in Asia is related to labor, Work for Freedom will focus on providing women with necessary skills and vocational training to help them secure legal employment with a decent wage. The program will also educate vulnerable men and women of their rights, and help them organize collectively. Finally, the program will prevent child labor by helping children stay in school instead of migrating for work.

The UK’s Work for Freedom program will help reduce slavery, in turn empowering the world’s vulnerable and decreasing global poverty.

– Caressa Kruth

Sources: The Guardian, The Guardian: Modern Day Slavery Explainer, Gov.UK: Work in Freedom, Gov.UK
Photo: Gov.uk

human_traffic_gender

Since 2011, the U.S. Department of State has released an annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP), detailing the U.S. government’s evaluation of the human trafficking situation around the world. The report is organized by ranking 188 governments in their effectiveness in preventing human trafficking and addressing the issues associated with modern day slavery. The stated purpose of publishing these reports is to hold traffickers accountable for their actions and to prevent more people from falling victim.

The TIP reports organize countries into three different tiers, determined by the country’s governmental cooperation in meeting the standards set by the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

Tier One countries have the highest levels of progress in addressing and preventing human trafficking. On average, 30 countries fall in the Tier One range. Tier 2 maintains two different levels: Tier 2 and the Tier 2 Watch list, typically with approximately 130 countries in this category.

Finally, about 20 countries make up the Tier 3 level. A country is deemed Tier 3 for failed governmental attention to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and blatant trafficking. Countries on the Tier 3 list are susceptible to sanctions from the U.S. government.

Proponents of the TIP report praise the effectiveness of monitoring progress and the accountability systems. The TIP reports have strengthened through their systematic measurements of governmental actions.

Such believers in the TIP reports claim they prevent thousands of people from being recruited into the trafficking network and purport that countries around the world are spurred to action by these annual rankings. Supporters commend the State Department for taking action on this global cause and providing leadership in getting governments to examine the trafficking situations within their countries and spurring change across the world.

Furthermore, many nonprofit organizations and relief agencies cite the data in the TIP reports and use this information to develop their action plans.

While responses to the TIP reports have largely been positive, critics point out many perceived flaws in the system. Some believe the reports merely cause diplomatic problems and put tensions on relationships between various countries.

One problem critics have pointed out is how the rankings are determined: they are based not on the extent of trafficking in a country, but only on governmental action towards trafficking. Others simply disagree with the premise of the United States ranking other countries, since the U.S. has problems with trafficking as well.

The 2013 TIP Report, which was released in June, drew much attention to its downgrading of China and Russia, since these big trading countries are now liable to sanctions from the U.S. government.

– Allison Meade
Sources: Not For Sale Campaign, U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Person Report 2013
Photo: RealCourage.org

Fair Trade Chocolate
Chocolate, called “xocoatl” by the Aztecs hundreds of years ago, has historically been a staple in life to many millions of people.

Cacao concoctions were drunk by Mayan royalty, lauded as a gift from the gods, and was even used as currency by the Aztecs as early as the 1500s.

Today’s chocolate is also worth a lot of money. Recent estimates of chocolate consumption patterns around the week of Valentine’s Day say that “consumers will buy more than 58 million pounds of chocolate candy, raking in $345 million in sales and accounting for 5.1 percent of total annual sales” in the United States alone, reports Sylvia Camaj of PolicyMic.

The history of chocolate has also always included a dark side, however.

Scholars know that Mayan and Aztec rituals regarded cacao beans as an essential element in some capacity; whether the ritual was religious, concerned life or death, did or did not involve the sacrifice of human life – cacao was seen as a representation of divinity.

Today’s dark side of chocolate stems primarily from the statistic that 40 percent of the world’s cocoa, produced for major companies such as Hershey, Nestle, Mars, Kraft and Dove, comes from plantations in Africa’s Ivory Coast and Ghana, and is responsible for the trafficking of an estimated 109,000 children, says the State Department. The children suffer terrible abuse for their work, beating beaten and forced to work long hours while being exposed to dangerous and stunting pesticides and equipment.

However, smart and dedicated consumers are demanding change from these multi-national companies, and the companies are responding. When Cadbury was bought by Kraft in 2010, Kraft promised “to honor Cadbury’s commitment to Fair Trade cocoa sourcing. Nestle has also committed to buying chocolate that meets international labor rights standards.” Hershey has made similar commitments, although the company still has much work to do regarding their Fair Trade labor practices.

Consumers pressuring companies into morally correct business practices is a healthy, growing global trend that must receive continued attention and support from the international community. A commitment to Fair Trade products helps companies achieve a better moral standing with consumers. They can then be seen as more credible producers.

An example of a global company adopting Fair Trade production is Starbucks, a global giant in coffee that has committed to streamlining several of their beans purely from Fair Trade sources.

Learn more about Fair Trade from Oxfam International.

– Nina Narang

Sources: PolicyMic, Smithsonian
Photo: Urban Earthworm