Every morning, 13-year-old Al-aabel wakes up at 5:30 am and boards a bus — bound not for school, but for a garbage dump. Here he, like many children in Jordan, spends his days collecting and selling scrap materials to support his family.
No child should be forced to forfeit a promising future just to survive, yet that is the dynamic that threatens the futures of the 168 million children who work worldwide. In Jordan, child labor has increased dramatically since the influx of more than 600,000 Syrian refugees forced to flee their homes during the conflict.
This short film, “Living on Scrap,” was produced with the support of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs to shine a light on this problem.
At the Department of Labor, we are hard at work trying to find a solution to the scourge of child labor worldwide. Our global projects have rescued over 1.7 million children from exploitive child labor.
In Jordan, with our financial and technical support, the nonprofit organization Save the Children is implementing the Promising Futures project – which by the end of this year aims to reach 7,000 children and 3,500 families. The project intends to reduce child labor by addressing its root causes, helping families improve their livelihoods so children can attend school instead of having to work.
Christine Carlson is the International Relations Analyst for the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, & Human Trafficking.