Exploitation of Child Labour
Exploitation of Child Labour refers to employing children under a minimum legal age in any work that interferes with their opportunity to attend regular school.
In the world’s poorest countries, around 1 in 4 children are engaged in child labour. Globally the incidence of child labour decreased from 25% to 10% between 1960 and 2003, according to the World Bank. Nevertheless, the total number of child labourers remains high. Some global estimates indicate that 168 million children aged 5 to 17 are engaged in child labour. Millions of them suffer in the other worst forms of child labour including child soldiering, sexual exploitation, or drug trafficking. Child labour is the combined product of many factors, such as poverty, social norms condoning it, lack of decent work opportunities for adults and adolescents, migration, and emergencies.
The highest incidence of child labour is in Africa followed by Asia and the Pacific. It is believed that Child labour has short term positive economic effects because the children are bringing in more money for their families, but the long term economic effects are negative due to the lack of schooling.
Cambodia specified the minimum age to work to be at age 14. Yet, significant levels of child labour appear to be found in Cambodia. In 1998, it was estimated that 1 in 5 children in Cambodia aged between 10 and 14 were economically active. Many of these children work long hours and it was reported that approximately 65,000 children between the ages of 5 to 13 worked 25 hours a week and did not attend schools.
Cambodia’s economic growth and progress is one of the contributing factors to the increasing number of child labourers. The huge demand of the construction industry is one example where it has pushed children to work in factories. The agricultural sector and garment industry also utilize a large percentage of child labour. Some studies by the UN found that 43 percent of mine explosion victims in military hospitals were conscripted when they were between ten and sixteen years old. The health effects of such mine explosions are extremely severe, especially for children.
Based on a government report in 2015, one in five children in Myanmar aged 10 to 17 are working instead of attending school. The real number is estimated to be higher. According to the 2015 Labour Force Survey Report 1.1 million children aged 5 to 17 years. Over half of the child labourers – 616,815 or 5.1% of the child population – are trapped in hazardous work likely to harm their physical, mental or moral development. A lot of child labour tend to work very long hours – 25.8% of the 12-14 years old and 24.3% of the 15-17 years old worked 60 hours or more. It is little wonder that Myanmar has a reputation for being one of the worst countries for underage labour.
Praying for Cambodia & Myanmar
– Pastor Teresa Tong
O Father God, you are worthy to be praised. You are the great creator of Heaven and Earth. You are Alpha, you are Omega and yet you love and care for each one of us. We know that you love children as Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me.” We particularly lift up children and youth in Cambodia and Myanmar who are suffering in deep water of grief. You know each one of them by name as you formed them in their mother’s womb and you promise to hear them when they call upon your name.
O Father God, as most Cambodians are still recovering from the traumatized experience of Khmer Rouge (their civil war in the 70’s), many parents do not know how to love and protect their young children. Due to poverty, they may even sell them to brothel houses to serve as a sex slave at an age as young as 5-6 years old.
O Father, we ask for your grace to spare these young victims from physical and emotional sufferings. We plead for your mercy to comfort and strengthen them by their sides when they go through great grief that is beyond words could express. We beg you, Father, to let them recover from such abusive tortures. We know you will collect all these young victims’ tears in your bottle and keep track of their sorrows. We trust that your almighty power could deliver them from the evil control of those sex trafficking gangsters. O Father God, please grant them a healthy upbringing with a normal childhood and let them have the chance to receive education so that they do not have to rely on their body and sexual business to earn a living. Father, please also change the hardened hearts of those sex traffickers, parents of the victims and pedophiles into fleshy hearts so that they will have remorse over their evil acts and turn away from such sinful crimes that cause traumatized hurts to so many young souls that you dearly love. As they go through the valley of the shadow of death, we trust that you will be there to comfort them, guide them with your staff and embrace them with your everlasting arms.
O Father God, we also lift up the children in Myanmar. With the ongoing civil wars among the 135 minor tribes within the country, poverty, sickness, chaotic life, loss of parents, tears, hunger, fear, homelessness, lack of sense of belonging, direction and security have always been shadowing over these young ones that are dear to your heart. O Father, we ask for your eyes to watch over these helpless children and youth, especially those that are near the war zone. Very often, they have no parents around them. They are lost and confused during the development stage. We plead for your provision of a stable home or orphanage that could give them warmth and hope in Christ’s love. Since Myanmar is a Buddhist country, many children have been forced to serve as a monk since young. Father God, please deliver them from the bondage of idolatry and let them have the chance to hear your Gospel so that they will be saved and get an eternal life. Even though many children in Myanmar do not have earthly parents, please let them realize that there is a Heavenly Father who always watches over them.
O Father God, we plead for a renewed life for children and youth in Cambodia and Myanmar so that they will anchor their soul in love, joy, peace and hope based on their faith in Christ. Wrap your great arms around these young people, draw them close to you, and be there when they stand at the great intersection of making decisions or having great challenges in life. We trust that God is faithful, as a loving Father, to hear and answer that cry of the young hearts. You will be there to comfort them and work within the soul of your beloved children. We pray in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.
If you are interested in knowing more about RHCCC’s PEACE program in Cambodia and Myanmar or would like to participate in this ministry, please contact Pastor Teresa Tong.