Thursday, August 24, 2006

Rise in Sub-Saharan Child Labor

Here, more than one in four children below age 14 works, whether full time or for a few hours a week, nearly the same percentage as the worldwide average in 1960.

It is by far the greatest proportion of working children in the world.

By the United Nations’ latest estimate, more than 49 million sub-Saharan children age 14 and younger worked in 2004, 1.3 million more than at the turn of the century just four years earlier.

Their tasks are not merely the housework and garden-tending common to most developing societies.

They are prostitutes, miners, construction workers, pesticide sprayers, haulers, street vendors, full-time servants, and they are not necessarily even paid for their labor.

Some are as young as 5 and 6 years old.

In Kenya, nearly a third of the coffee pickers were children, a 2001 World Bank Report found.

In Tanzania, 25,000 children worked in hazardous jobs on plantations and in mines.

Their numbers in Africa grow even as the ranks of child laborers are dropping by the millions in every other region of the world.

This relates to our on-going attention to AIDS in Africa. Many of these children are orphaned by parents who died of AIDS. It's enough to make me want to fly out to Zambia and adopt. Unfortunately I'm not at that point yet in my life. Help me out here. Anyone know some good charities that work with children in this part of the world?

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