By Rashid Shirinov
Today, thousands of children in Armenia are deprived of a normal childhood as they have to work despite their young age. The main reason for this is, of course, the poverty of their families. Alas, the country's government does not pay due attention to the issue, and therefore, child labor remains among significant social problems of present-day Armenia.
Poverty, illiteracy, adult unemployment – all this leads to the exploitation of child labor. Experts in Armenia sound the alarm that child labor threatens the future of the country. Armenian media report that as many as 1,100 officially working children are registered in the country to date.
However, many more children are forced to work, not always of their own free will, and almost no one is aware of this, Aida Muradyan, head of the “World Vision Armenia” children’s protection program told news.am.
She noted that most of the children in Armenia are involved in the worst forms of child labor, and therefore they are not registered. Many of them have to work, for example, in agriculture to support their families.
“Very often such a hard work is harmful to them and prevents them from studying,” Muradyan says.
Thus, Armenian children, instead of studying, have to work every day to provide food for their poor families. Statistics say that about 30 percent of working children in Armenia are under 14.
The ‘shadow’ economy existing in Armenia is, of course, one of the main factors of using child labor. This kind of economy is characterized by the absence of labor contracts and social protection. Therefore, the employers attract child labor for their businesses. Children do not require working guarantees, they are easy to exploit, and their labor is much cheaper – this is the most important for these dishonest employers.
However, the Armenian government still turns a blind eye on child labor in the country, thus depriving Armenian children of a bright future that the authorities constantly promise to the country’s population.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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