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2008.03.24

Yemen – Children face the future (Child Labor)
* 04분 21초
* 01-DEC-2007 


Selling honey on the side of the road in Yemen is a touch and go business. And at thirteen years old Abdou knows about the vagaries of drive by commerce. 

But, if camping out on the road to Taiz may seem difficult, Nagi’s job is altogether more strenuous. He toils under the Aden sun and fixes tires under his boss’s watchful eye.

More than ten percent of the workforce in Yemen are children. They are sometimes as young as six years old. And they take on Adult jobs.

Welding is Mohammed’s trade

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Mohammed Abdul Karim, 13 years old: 
“I like this job, because I have learnt a skill. But, this job is dangerous for me because I am still young.”

He doesn’t have a choice, he came to Aden to try and find work to support his family and he sends most of the money back home. Mohammed is the man of the house.

SOUNBITE (English) Dr. Mohamed Al-Ebbi, UNICEF Yemen: 
“The children they are leaving the rural areas to come to the big cities for so many reasons. The first reason is the economic situation. As you know, if the parents are unemployed, there is not enough income. The children when they are twelve or thirteen they will go to find a job and the work. They came to Aden because they thought these big cities was a haven. But in reality it is not.”

When they arrive in the cities many don’t find work and end up begging…like Badr, who spends his day trying to beg from passing cars. 

And when they end up on the street, they are often picked up by the police and interred here in bunker like detention centers for months or years. 

It is not just the hope of a job that leads them to the city. 

The drawings of the children at this center show one of the chief reasons… certain studies have shown that up 90 percent of children in Yemen suffer abuse at the hands of one or both parents. 

Punishment is metered out with alacrity. 

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Tala: 
“I broke an egg at home so my stepmother grabbed me and beat me and then chained me up and beat me again…I escaped from home.”

Tala was 8 when he fled his home. The police picked him up and brought him to the Safe Children Center. It is like another planet…with 40 lucky children, this UNICEF supported center takes in street kids and gives them the loving care that they need. 

They have classes, a library, a TV…and Tala plays a mean table soccer. But they are in the minority there is just not enough help out there to assist all the children in need.

SOUNBITE (

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