Tajiks Battle Child Labour Tradition

Although it is the autumn cotton harvest in Central Asian states that attracts international attention, child labour on farms is in fact common all year round in Tajikistan.

Tajiks Battle Child Labour Tradition

Although it is the autumn cotton harvest in Central Asian states that attracts international attention, child labour on farms is in fact common all year round in Tajikistan.

Saturday, 21 February, 2009
According to reporter Shahodat Saidnazarova, the practice remains widespread despite instructions from government and campaigns by NGOs.



Families say their kids are just helping out, even though they do the same work as adults for little or no pay.



Many work in the fields all year round, most commonly on cotton and tobacco plantations. They miss out on much of their schooling and exposing themselves to risks from high temperatures, pesticides and dangerous farm machinery.



Farming families regard it as both traditional and necessary for children to help their parents. In recent years, many rural households have few men around as husbands, brothers and fathers are away working in Russia, so every helping hand is needed.



Aside from the work that central government and the United Nations have been doing, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions has been running an awareness-raising campaign in the southern Khatlon region – a major cotton growing area – talking to parents, teachers and local government officials about the long-term health risks to child farm-workers.
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