Child Poverty in the World

Child Poverty in the World
Fecha de publicación: 
2 April 2023
Imagen principal: 

Scoffing the law, millions of children worldwide are forced to work. Forced by their families, intimidated by supposed protectors, or compromised by the circumstances of living helpless, forgotten by society, in need of food and provisions.

It’s called abuse, child labor, words so distant from our daily lives in Cuba, where there’s a group of requirements, laws, and norms to guarantee full rights in children's ages, where it’s ensured that the family not only cares for their little ones, but that they offer them the best care.

Meanwhile, the situation in the world is extremely complex. A large number of working children live in areas affected by conflicts of a dissimilar nature, violent or not, but which generate instability and vulnerable situations that mark their lives, many times for good.

There are campaigns, organizations, activists, and international regulations that denounce and fight such offenses against the exploitation of children, however, it’s still insufficient, and this is demonstrated by the statistics of various entities at a global level, such as the United Nations.

How much can we do to make the masses aware of the extent of the problem, from the social and psychological aspects, that child labor represents? Can we actually eliminate it? It seems impossible right now.

Everything seems to indicate that this phenomenon is closely related to homelessness. That’s the basic problem, which is why it’s so complicated to solve, especially since the differences are increasingly marked, and the poor are poorer.

However, I don’t believe countries with the highest economic indexes are exempt from this issue. It’s likely that this trend is shown to a lesser extent in them because in theory they have societies with government designs that dedicate strategies towards education, society, health, and other factors. But no society is perfect and there are gaps.

Precisely this support fails in many poor nations, and that’s what’s scarce in those territories that live in extreme conditions due to war or constant violence, with States that cannot take care of their populations, and therefore their citizens live without order or attention. As expected, in this equation the most abandoned factor are children, sometimes because the family structure just crumbles and they are forced to work, or are recruited as soldiers. That’s the scenario that goes in a loop: they do not study, and almost always don’t have a steady home.

There can be many examples. There are also families that, due to economic problems, force them to look for a job. It seems everything goes! In those cases, where is the State that does not identify it, condemn it, correct it and keeps a follow-up? It’s a very complicated situation, but in all cases, governments should focus efforts to eliminate it. Adequate social assistance can help, something that does not work in countries with high risk.

Children who ask for money on street corners and clean windshields at traffic lights; children who shine shoes and sell newspapers in the streets, or pack products in markets; children who even work in dangerous construction sites, industry, mines, and agriculture; and many more examples where they put their health and safety at risk. These are repeated scenes in the world, luckily, none of them is Cuban. And if any appear, it will most likely be denounced, the causes identified and solutions sought after.

It’s important to know that this problem favors infant mortality. Evicted children have a high probability of living less, or that in the future they will never make amends and may become delinquents or criminals because, often, they travel a path of wrongdoings in order to survive.

An issue that counts is the indifference of many people who look the other way, in a way that they allow and encourage it, when they should call the attention of authorities, and perhaps thus avoid a greater evil, breaking the chain. Of course, as long as there are public policies that dedicate resources to social programs interested in keeping children in their places, away from any work effort.

The International Labor Organization, ILO, ensures that one out of ten children worldwide lives with difficulties of this type, therefore, the challenge is huge.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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