Poverty And Child Labor Abuse

Poverty often accompanies many problems and causes a series of crimes, especially problems related to children. One of the most serious crimes in recent years has been the abuse of child labor to earn money from adults, sometimes from their own parents.

In Sa Pa, the sight of hundreds of ethnic minority children carrying babies on their backs begging for money from street vendors makes many tourists feel sorry for them. These children are accompanied by their parents and are guided in selling goods, attracting customers, and living on the basis of tourism or begging.

There is also an opinion that this problem has happened for a long time and originates from the way people teach young children here, taking advantage of children to make a living through tourism. The ways of “pushing and asking for guests”, and the way of “greeting and selling,” the children here are taught very professionally, especially with foreign guests.

These childer who become street vendors are begging in crowded places, most of them have adults standing behind pulling strings, and many times putting pressure on them. These children will be punished if they make mistakes, so if you encounter this situation, you also need to understand the reason for their behavior.

Recently, in a clip that is going viral on social media, an officer of the Urban Order Inspection Team, Sa Pa Ward People’s Committee (Sa Pa town, Lao Cai province), is holding a loudspeaker. He is reading an announcement to tourists not to give money or buy street food from children to protect these children.

This was his announcement:

“In Sa Pa town on a cold winter day, there are children being forced to beg and sell goods. This is an act of profiteering on children’s bodies, violating the law on children’s rights. Our working group would like to ask that you, when visiting and traveling in Sa Pa town, please oppose the above action with practical actions, without pity and give money to children or buy their goods.”

The act of shepherding children begging on the street, whether by outsiders or even their parents, is also a violation of the law. The Law on Children stipulates that exploiting children and forcing children to beg is strictly prohibited, but legally there is a gap.

So far, there have been many cases of shepherding beggars discovered, but we mainly handle them by bringing the children back home, then asking the law enforcement agency to step in. These acts are usually not criminally handled, but only administratively handled, so they are not enough of a deterrent, especially for repeated acts of letting children wander and start begging in an organized manner to exploit children’s labor.

The results of the survey conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in collaboration with the General Statistics Office and with the technical support of the International Labor Organization (ILO) just announced on December 18, 2020, show that amount of young Children workers in Vietnam are about 2% lower than the average rate in the Asia and Pacific region, but about 5.3% of children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 17 are child laborers.

This number is equivalent to more than 1 million children, of which more than half of them have to work in heavy, hazardous, and dangerous conditions. Specifically, there are nearly 520,000 child laborers in Vietnam doing heavy, hazardous, and dangerous jobs that pose risks to children’s health, safety and morals.

The survey also shows that in line with the general global trend, 84% of child laborers in Vietnam are concentrated in rural areas and more than half of them work in the agriculture, forestry, and fishery sectors. Child labor in hazardous work is often found in the industrial and construction sectors.

The number of working hours of child labor in heavy, hazardous, and dangerous jobs tends to be high, with 40.6% of children in this group working more than 40 hours a week. About 40.5% of child labor is unpaid household labor.

In addition to the risks to children’s health and safety, the survey highlighted the negative effects of economic participation on children’s attendance at school. As children’s participation in economic activities increases, the percentage of children attending school decreases.

Compared with the national average school attendance rate of 94.4%, only half of the child laborers attend school. For those that do heavy, hazardous, and dangerous jobs the risk is even lower, with only 38.6% of them attending school.

I hope that child labor abuse will soon come to an end in the poor provinces of Vietnam. With the help of the community, these children can go to school and have carefree days instead of taking care of the rice fields or earning money like an adult.

At Project Sprouts, we realize that we can not solve all the problems of poverty in a situation like this. But we can seek to make a difference in the lives of needy children by giving them school supplies and encouraging them to continue their education; we can give them winter coats, boots, and blankets to help them stay warm during the cold winter months.

Project Sprouts would love to have you be a part of our community and help us to help worthy children in North Vietnam. We cannot solve all the world’s problems, but we can do our part to help poor kids grow by giving school supplies, winter coats, boots, and other supplies.

You can find out more about Project Sprouts by clicking here or going to our give now page to donate by clicking here. As we are a grassroots organization, all funds go to help those in need.

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Huong Nhi Nguyen

I am Huong Nhi, and my favorite things are reading books, listening to some pop music, or just relaxing under the sunlight and enjoying the day. Writing may sound a little bit boring, but when you start it, you cannot escape from the feeling of being addicted to it without stopping. My favorite quote is “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer” by Albert Camus.

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