Working Kids Common Sight in Tajikistan

Although child labour is banned by law in Tajikistan, children can be seen working everywhere.

Muhayo Khosabekova, who runs the anti-child labour programme at the Tajikistan office of the International Labour Organisation, says the number of minors aged 12 to 14 who are working has risen by one-third in the last six year. That means 33 or 34 per cent of children in this age-group across Tajikistan are classed as working.

She added that these statistics failed to capture the number of younger children who were working.

Some argue that a clearer distinction should be made between those who illegally employ children and household where young and old contribute to the family business or farm.

Children who drop out of school to take jobs as market porters typically come from poor backgrounds. While efforts are under way to get them back into education, some experts argue that the problem will not go away until the economic hardship that faces parents with stark choices is addressed.

The audio programme, in Russian and Tajik, went out on national radio stations in Tajikistan, as part of IWPR project work funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.