Tag Archive: child labor

The Link Between Human Trafficking and Armed Conflict

May 5, 2022

By Felisher Ongera (USCSAHT Student Intern)

Tensions have been brewing for months on end without a resolution in sight. For two months, it has become clear that there is little to no peace progress being made in the Russian-Ukraine crisis. Families are being torn apart and economic desperation is on the rise for the Ukrainian people and those around them. This crisis, however, is not the only conflict in sight. From civil wars and political unrest to terrorist insurgencies, there is a large number of countries currently experiencing armed conflict. As people lose their jobs and homes while fleeing these countries to seek refuge, human traffickers are on the prowl, searching for ways to exploit victims.

It is no secret that traffickers prey on victims in search of employment opportunities. Oftentimes, victims are lured in by the promises of a higher-paying job. With a decrease in the availability of social services at this time, many victims can fall prey to traffickers. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates an average of 40.3 million individuals are trapped in forced labor. Armed conflict only worsens this prevalence, increasing refugees’ vulnerability to human trafficking. These people are trapped and exposed to indentured servitude or debt bondage and forced to work with little to no payment all while facing psychological and physical abuse.

Labor trafficking is not the only form of human trafficking that is rampant as a result of armed conflict. Child labor is just as heinous and its risk is heightened during periods of armed conflict. To begin, the ILO defines child labor as “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity, and that is harmful to [their] physical and mental development.” Parents often are unable to provide for all of their young ones and with economic desperation on the rise, children join the workforce in order to lessen their families’ burden and provide additional support. Traffickers take advantage of this and exploit these children, promising to help and provide. Once taken, they are often overworked, underpaid, isolated, deprived of education, and physically and sexually abused. Not to mention that at times of conflict, there is a rise in the unlawful recruitment and use of children through force, fraud, or coercion—to be used as combatants or constrained to work as porters, cooks, guards, servants, messengers, or spies. In addition to these child soldiers, the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report indicates that young girls can be forced to marry or have sex with commanders and male combatants. Therefore, it is essential we keep ourselves educated on the topic and keep in mind this increase in human trafficking in order to best learn how to assist in combatting both trafficking cases as well as providing humanitarian aid.

To learn more about the connection between armed conflict, labor, and child trafficking, read our Human Trafficking: Labor Trafficking education module and visit these websites:

Human Trafficking in Conflict Zones

Countries Currently At War 2022

2020 Trafficking in Persons Report

Child Labor in Paraguay: How to Eradicate Criadazgo

June 22, 2021

TACOMA, Washington — The abominable practice of criadazgo (roughly translated to serfdom in the context of child labor) is the practice of taking in a child from a less privileged family to work at a household without receiving any pay or education. In other words, it is a form of slavery that affects youths ranging from ages five to seventeen. Not only does it deprive them of their right to education, but minors often work long hours and experience sexual and physical abuse.

Criadazgo in Paraguay

Like in many other Latin American countries, criadazgo has existed in Paraguay practically since the country gained independence from Spain more than 200 years ago. Over the centuries, it has consolidated itself into Paraguayan society and was only declared illegal in 2001.

Yet, in 2016, 18% of domestic workers in Paraguay were between 10 to 19 years old. Children often have to work as part of debt bondage, in the cattle-raising sector, as street vendors and in households doing domestic work.

Low-income families often cannot afford to raise their offspring. In many instances, middle and upper-class households buy children to work for an indefinite number of years, often continuing to do domestic work even after 18 years of age. In the worst cases, this type of child labor introduces youths to trafficking and forced prostitution.

Read the full article by Araí Yegros on Borgen Magazine

Child Slaves Risk Their Lives on Ghana’s Lake Volta

March 11, 2019

Sold by their parents, around 20,000 children work on the lake, enslaved by the fishermen they call “master.”

Dawn breaks over the water. Adam leads a column of five other boys through the high, golden grass to the softly lapping edge of Lake Volta in Ghana’s central region. The group of boys will spend the better part of the day fishing under a hot equatorial sun.
They’ve come from different towns, at different times, but they all have one thing in common. Each one of them was bought by the same fisherman to come and work as his slave.

Enslaved on the lake

“Every morning we wake up and we go to the lake, we paddle, remove the nets,” says Adam. “Then we come back, remove the fish, prepare the nets for the next casting and around 4pm, we go back to cast the net.”
Adam doesn’t know his own age, but appears to be about 12-years-old. He estimates he’s worked for Samuel, the man he calls “master,” for around three years. “I don’t want to be here,” says Adam. “I want to go to school, but I’m forced to be here.”
Adam is just one of 20,000 children on Lake Volta who the International Labour Organization reports are working for slave masters.
Most of the children come to the lake from hundreds of miles away. They are sold by their desperately poor parents to human traffickers, sometimes for as little as $250, which in this area, is what it would cost to purchase a cow.
CNN joined Adam and five other enslaved children working for Samuel, to witness what a typical day on the lake looks like for them. It started in the pre-dawn hours. The young crew loaded the gear onto a wooden boat and pushed off into the water.

To view the full multimedia story by Leif Coorlim, Petter Rudden, and Michal Przedlacki on CNN: Click Here