Child labor on the rise while laws fail to contain the problem

عمالة اطفال
An undated photo of a child laborer. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Experts have called for toughening penalties in laws and expanding the scope of their application to reduce child labor in Jordan, according to AmmanNet.اضافة اعلان

In a session held this week by the Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies in partnership with the German Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung on child labor, they called for the need to intensify awareness and underlined the importance of pointing to the effects of child labor on health and the psychological status of children as well as the economic and social situation contributing to the phenomenon.

The head of the Child Labor Inspection Department at the Ministry of Labor, Haifa Darwish, revealed that in 2021, 1,081 cases of child labor were discovered, with 376 warnings issued and 112 violations documented.

In the session, Darwish said that the ministry addressed the Cabinet to adopt the updated national strategy to reduce child labor 2022–2030, with a view to launching it soon.

She indicated that there is an electronic system that is alerted the moment a child labor case is discovered, which is then referred to the Ministry of Social Development for verification.

For her part, Nadine Al-Nimri, a journalist specializing in child issues, said that assessment of the current situation must rely on recent figures and indicators, especially since the last survey of the reality of child labor in Jordan dates back to 2016, .

Nimri said that the last two years marked significant changes that contributed to the increase in child labor. She added that the phenomenon today is much more serious than in 2016 due to the pandemic and the closures in 2020, which had a significant negative impact on the economic and educational situation, prompting families to send their children to find work.

She pointed out that the Penal Code references beggary and does not talk about child labor as a crime.

For her part, child protection adviser at Rowad Al-Khair Association, Haneen Muhammad, said that monitoring cases in the field showed that about 50 percent of working children cannot read and write, in addition to being exposed to work injuries.

She added children often work under dangerous circumstances. She said that marginalization, bullying and discrimination in the classroom push many children to the labor market.

Director of Childhood in the National Council for Family Affairs, Mai Sultan, confirmed that work affects children’s health and psychology in the first place, because of the nature of their bodies where in some cases have a higher concentration of chemical absorption.

Sultan said that health risks include dehydration and heat exhaustion, as well as problems with physical development and the spine, in cases of working in loading and unloading, in addition to inflammation of tendons and joints, respiratory and skin diseases, liver and nervous system diseases in the event of exposure to adhesives.

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