What is the Answer to Child Labor in Asia?
Child labor in Asia is a significant problem. While the continent of Africa contains nearly half of the world’s child laborers, Asia comes in next at 41 percent, which equates to more than 62.1 million children.1 Asian countries with a high incidence of child labor include Myanmar and Bangladesh. Inside these countries, the most common industries that have child laborers are garment factories, farming, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, construction and small-scale industry.
What’s the answer?
First, since poverty is at the root of the child labor problem, poverty alleviation is essential.
Poverty is commonly the driving force that pushes children into forced labor. When parents cannot provide for their families with their own meager incomes, they often resort to child labor to help meet the family’s basic needs.
Second, literacy and vocational education provide positive alternatives to child labor.
When parents learn to read, they are qualified for more jobs and higher paying economic opportunities. Vocational training also opens up new employment skills and thus greater opportunity.
Third, income-generating gifts can provide essential resources for those in dire need.
These gifts may include carts, sewing machines, fishing nets, rickshaws or farm animals. Farm animals may seem like a strange solution, but these animals can provide a consistent income to a family in need. These animals provide eggs, meat and milk that can be used by the family or sold. Animals create a new income stream that can take away the need for children to work. Instead, these children are able to stay in school.
Fourth, clean water wells also help keep children in school.
When people have access to clean water in their local community, they don’t have to walk for hours every day for water. Most often, this responsibility lands on women and children, and it takes away from time that could be spent working or in school.
GFA World provides positive solutions in both Africa and Asia to keep children in schools and outside of the workforce. Through a child sponsorship model, children, their families and communities benefit from community-wide solutions which may include opportunities for education support, medical are, protection against malnutrition, clean water and more.
1 “Global Estimates of Child Labour: Results and Trends 2012-2016.” International Labour Office. https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—dgreports/—dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_575499.pdf. 2017.