Syria – Syrian child laborers exposed to psychological, physical abuse in workplace
Location: North Syria
Source: A24 North Syria office
Restrictions: A24 subscribers
An increasing number of children in Syria are forced to work in arduous jobs amid deteriorating economic conditions mainly due to the war that has led to displacement. The number of child labor cases in northern Syria, in particular, has increased dramatically, as many of them lost their breadwinners in the years-long war, depriving children of their basic rights.
Mustafa Al-Youssef, head of the Child Protection Organization (Hurras), told A24 that child labor has emerged during the past ten years due to war, poverty, and the poor economic situation of families without publishing accurate statistics so far.
He added that children are subjected to major psychological and physical abuse in the workplace, including sexual harassment, kidnapping, and fatigue.
Al-Youssef underscored that the Child Protection Organization provides psychological support to children and awareness sessions for parents to avoid potential risks.
Soundbite (Abdel Rahman Shaheen – child worker):
“I am Abdul Rahman. I am 13 years old. I work as a car mechanic to support my family. I left school and my dream was to go to university and complete my education. My father was killed in the war. I am alone. I come to work from 7:00 am to 7:30 pm. My job is tiring. I have to carry heavy items, but I have no other choice because I have to support my family. When I see a child going to school or another with his father, I feel upset and sad. I am lonely and an orphan. I wish to go back to school.”
Soundbite (Muhammad Al-Hamwi – child worker)
“My name is Mohammed. I work in the scrap metal collection. My father is a market worker. We were displaced from the northern Hama countryside. We lived in a tent. I collect and sort scrap. Sometimes my hands got hurt. I work outdoors in hot and cold weather to be able to buy bread. I start working in the morning until afternoon to earn 10 or 20 TL.”
Soundbite (Hasan Al Ali – child worker):
“My name is Hassan, I am eight years old. I left school and work as a blacksmith to help my parents support the family. Sometimes my hands get injured. Sometimes I find unexploded ordnance and shells. I am sad because I cannot play with other children, and I do not go to school. I am only allowed to go to work to help my father.”
Soundbite (Ziyad Muhamad – child worker):
“We were displaced from our village four years ago, and since then we have been collecting iron waste to support our families. I hope to go back to school. I work from morning till evening for only 10 liras. Sometimes I find shells. I collect iron and nylon from roads in cold and hot weather to support my family.”
Soundbite (Mustafa Al-Youssef – President of the Child Protection organization (Hurras)):
“Child labor has emerged during the past ten years due to war, poverty, poor economic situation of people, and the loss of breadwinners for some families. The number of working children is quite large, but there are no accurate statistics so far. There are physical, psychological and mental effects of child labor including deprivation of education, exposure to sexual harassment, abduction, or burnout. We, as an organization working in the field of child protection from child labor, provide psychological support and awareness sessions to parents and secure children’s needs such as clothes and school supplies.”