Two Afghan Children’s Story | Child Labour in Afghanistan
We Interviewed two Afghan Children who are living in Herat-Afghanistan and currently working to make money for their family .
Afghan Child called (Wakil Ahmad (the 10 Years Old boy in the video);
Wakil Ahmad who is 10 years old، he collects plastic bags to sell, and makes money in this way. he says that he has to work everyday and make money to buy some breads for the family.
He is not going to School but he likes to go to school and become Engineer or Doctor in the future.
When the Afghan Reporter asks him what he wants to be in the future. he answered ” Anything, but not to collect Plastic bags anymore as i am doing it now”
Afghan Child called (Marouf ( The 8 Years Old boy in the video);
His father is working in Iran, he is polishing shoes and makes 50 AFN (0.45$) per day through what he is doing. he said with these money (0.45$) i buy breads for my Sisters and Brothers eveyday.
he says I don’t want to go to school, because if i go, then who will work and make money for the family.
He likes to go to school and to become a doctor and engineer in the future .
Afghan Reporter tries to find Afghan labour children to bring their story into a video, and to collect donations for these people from around the world through Website and social media.
If you would like to Donate and help Afghan Children, you can do it now by clicking here
The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated significantly with the recent political and socioeconomic developments. Essential services are on the brink of collapse, exacerbating the needs of an already vulnerable population.
More than half of the population, 24.4 million people, need humanitarian assistance, including 12.9 million children. Multiple disease outbreaks (measles, acute watery diarrhoea, dengue, COVID-19) are ongoing.
Without access to minimum life-saving services, Afghans will suffer cataclysmic effects. 35 million people rely on basic primary health care services for life-saving care; without sustained access to these services, an estimated 212 children will die every day.
The deteriorating situation has left 8.7 million people in emergency food insecurity level 4 (IPC 4). Undernutrition contributes to 45 per cent of child deaths in Afghanistan. Currently, acute malnutrition is above emergency thresholds in 27 of 34 provinces and rapidly worsening.
Drought has exacerbated WASH needs, with 53 per cent of water points across three provinces drying up. The breakdown of water services in urban settings has halved water availability and increased contamination from wastewater; 8 out of 10 Afghans now drink bacteriologically contaminated water.
Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, access to education was a challenge, with cultural practices, displacement, inaccessibility and lack of facilities keeping 4.2 million (60 per cent girls) out of school. Without sustained access to education, 7.9 million more children risk missing out on critical education. Prolonged school closures and absences often result in children, particularly girls, not returning to complete their education – with lasting impacts on children.
These impacts, combined with the socioeconomic crisis, have nearly obliterated coping mechanisms and given rise to child labour and early marriage. With the economy and many public service sectors verging on collapse due to non-payment of salaries and empty government coffers, Afghanistan’s people face an uncertain future.
Even before the current crisis, Afghanistan faced myriad challenges to the realization of children’s and women’s rights, with children being subject to all six grave violations affecting children in conflict.
In 2020, almost half of the Afghan population was living in humanitarian need due to conflict, natural disasters, food insecurity, high cross-border mobility and the social, economic and health impacts of COVID-19. Poverty is also widespread, with almost one in two Afghans living below the national poverty line in 2019. Afghanistan remains in a fragile state and the economy is weak as well as highly dependent on international aid. Social norms and harmful practices rooted in gender inequity are pervasive, with children and women being exposed to various extreme forms of violence and abusive behaviours, such as honour killings, child marriage, domestic abuse, and sexual violence.
For an analysis of the situation of children and women in Afghanistan from 2015 up to August 2021:
In the last decade, child labour has decreased by 38%; however, 152 million children are still affected and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation. Child labour reaches many different corners across the world, often occurring in various sectors that can have detrimental educational, health and psychological impacts on children’s well-being. There are various drivers of child labour such as poverty, armed conflict, inadequate laws and regulations, social inequality, discrimination and ingrained cultural traditions to name a few.
Defining child labour
The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines child labour as “work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and/or interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work” (ILO, n.d).
Not all forms of work undertaken by children are considered to be child labour. This varies from country to country and depends on the child’s age, the type of work performed, the number of hours put into work, the conditions they work under and whether it interferes with their schooling. There are activities that children can engage in – such as helping their family in the house, or assisting in a family business to earn an allowance during the school holidays – that can be positive for their development and provide children with skills and experience in order to prepare them for adulthood (ILO).
Defining the ´worst forms of child labour´
Under Article 3 of ILO Convention No. 182, the worst forms of child labour are defined as (ILO, 1999):
- all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict;
- the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances;
- the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties;
- work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.
The worst forms of child labour include (ILO):
- Child trafficking
- Sexual exploitation (which includes pornography and prostitution)
- Drug trafficking
- Debt bondage (also referred to as bonded labour)
- Forced labour
- Organized child begging
Defining ´hazardous child labour´
Hazardous child labour is defined under Article 3(d) of ILO Convention No. 182 as “work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children” (ILO). Child labour is considered hazardous when a child is working in an unhealthy or dangerous environment where they are at risk of falling ill, psychological and physical injury and in some cases, death (ILO).
Hazardous child labour is the largest category of child labour; it is estimated that approximately 73 million children are working in dangerous environments which include the mining, agriculture, manufacturing and construction sector, including work undertaken in bars, nightclubs, restaurants, markets and domestic services. Hazardous working conditions can cause lifelong illnesses that may not develop until later into adulthood (ILO).
Defining ´forced´ child labour
Under international law, ´forced´ labour is defined as “work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty for its non-performance and for which the worker does not offer himself voluntarily” (Thevenon & Edmonds, 2019).