Madagascar: Poverty Still Forces 2 Million Children into Hard Labor

by Project Censored
Published: Updated:

Due to socio-economic unrest in Antananarivo, Madagascar, the number of child laborers has risen by 25 percent. According to various reports published by International organizations like the International Labour Office (ILO) and the United Nations children’s fund UNICEF, there are two million children under the age of 15 going to work everyday instead of attending school. Due to widespread poverty and unemployment, the only survival of these children is harsh day labor. UNICEF reported in 2005 about 70% of the population in Madagascar live on $1.25 of pay a day at the most. Many child workers have to leave school and have to endure grueling labor in the fishing industry, in stone quarries, or as domestic servants in order to help their family survive. Child laborers are exposed to numerous health risks daily and are also becoming increasingly vulnerable to physical abuse. 17-year-old Jeanine Razananirina was seriously injured when her employer deliberately burnt her with boiling water. This is just one example of the many hardships child laborers face. Madagascar has signed and ratified the ILO International Convention on the Minimum Age for Labor in 2000 and then passed a national law in 2007. The 2007 law prohibits children under the age of 15 from doing any kinds of work. Even so, this law seems to be ignored as the economic hardships force children to physical labor in order to eke out a living. The only solution seems to be a reduction of unemployment and additional grants given out by the government to enable families to send their children to school for education.



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Student Researchers: Meghan Voigt, Rebecca Wojno, Varsha Ponnappa

Faculty Instructor: Kevin Howley Ph D.

Evaluator: Guangjun Qu Ph D., Economics and Management

DePauw University