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Afghan working children: getting worse as conflict continues

Questions from children and adults at the conference


“Why are working children disrespected and humiliated? Can you provide work or support our parents so that we don’t have to work? Who should if not you? If a child is not physically or mentally ready, they should not be sent to work. Instead of children, parents should work. Where can we address our problems?  Who can take care of us?”

Working child

“How can I go to school and feel protected? How can I make my dreams come true?”

Working child

“It is heart-breaking and moving to hear what the children had to say about their work. Continuing in this way means sacrificing the health of children, their education, their life and therefore the future of this country when Afghanistan has ratified 19 ILO conventions, including on minimum age and worst forms of child labour, such as Article 3 on all types of slavery and forced labour, and activities that include sexual exploitation, illegal activities, work that can damage health, the safety and the wellbeing of children.”

International Labour Organization (ILO)


“I hope all of the participants are listening well and do something about this issue: only 1% of the budget is given to MOLSAMD for child protection. Child labour has increased 38% in 2008, and 42%- 50% in 2010. From these, 47% are girls working in harsh and humiliating situations, being abused physically and sexually. From our survey in coalmines, we know that 12% of the children in Afghanistan don’t get any education. We must prevent children from working, provide them with education, implement policies to reduce poverty and start social welfare programs by government.”

Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC)

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