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Child Labour in Our World
Beirut
By b.yaacoub
11 Jun 2015

It may sound like old news to some, but one of the scary realities of our world is that some of the biggest problems facing humanity occur without explosions, protests, or big news headlines. Often, those who suffer the most suffer in silence, far away from the eyes of news cameras and the international community.

Child Labour is one of those problems that passes largely unnoticed. All over the world, across cultural, social, and religious divides, child labour persists. Sometimes it occurs as the simple act of a well-intended parent taking their child to work in the farm fields by their side. Other times, it is malicious factory owners using children as cheap labour in their factory, where they are abused and underpaid.

What makes the issue more complicated is that child labour can occur in front of our eyes, without us noticing. Sometimes understanding child labour is understanding what is not visible to us. It is understanding that a working child is not attending school, that a working child is malnourished, and that a working child is physically and psychologically abused. The difference between a child helping their mother in the family shop and child exploitation could be the simple question of whether or not the child’s work is preventing them from attending school. The line can sometimes be fine and other times glaring.

At Transterra Media, our contributors have documented child labour around the world for years, from the brick factories of Bangladesh, to the garbage piles of Cambodia, and the car repair shops of Syria. Our contributors have shed a small amount of light on a massive issue that the world is still trying to address.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 01
Mae Sai, Thailand
By S. R. Grasso
10 Jun 2015

Child begging at the Thai-Burmese border city or Mae Sai.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 15
Mae Sai, Thailand
By S. R. Grasso
10 Jun 2015

Beggar children taking a break at the Thai-Burmese border of Mae Sai.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 16
Mae Sai, Thailand
By S. R. Grasso
10 Jun 2015

Boys begging through the chain-linked fence separating Burma from Thailand in the thai border city of Mae Sai.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 17
Mae Sai, Thailand
By S. R. Grasso
10 Jun 2015

Burmese children begging at the Thai-Burmese border city of Mae Sai.

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Children of Migrant Labor in Southeas...
Thailand, Nepal, Myanmar, Cambodia
By S. R. Grasso
04 Apr 2015

An estimated 214 million persons worldwide are international migrants, along with an estimated 740 million internal migrants. Youth make up a disproportionate share of migrants from developing countries; about one third is between 12 and 25 years old. This includes millions of children under the age of 18. Migrant Children travelling with or with out their family in the South-East Asian region are most vulnerable group risking of child labor and human trafficking. Children attached to migrant worker parents can be found actively working in sectors such as domestic labor, street vending, farming, construction, waste collecting in garbage dumps and begging, often without accompanying adults or family and without safety or protection. Other common forms of child labor found in migrant communities including seafood processing, where children are often found working along side their parents in seafood markets or ship docks where seafood are unloaded, processing plants, and frozen processed food factories.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 11
Paoy Paet, Cambodia
By S. R. Grasso
04 Apr 2015

Girl living in a slum in Paoy Paet, Cambodia, near the Thai border. During the evenings, many children enter the no man's land in between the two checkpoints and beg the passers by.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 12
Paoy Paet, Cambodia
By S. R. Grasso
04 Apr 2015

Young teen working on a construction site in one of Paoy Paet's many slums.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 13
Paoy Paet, Cambodia
By S. R. Grasso
04 Apr 2015

Boy living in a slum in Paoy Paet, Cambodia, near the Thai border. During the evenings, many children enter the no man's land in between the two checkpoints and beg the passers by.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 14
Paoy Paet, Cambodia
By S. R. Grasso
04 Apr 2015

Cambodian children begging in the no man's land between the Thai and Cambodian checkpoints of the Paoy Paet border.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 08
Chiang Mai, Thailand
By S. R. Grasso
27 Feb 2015

Two young boys transport flowers from a small field in Chiang Mai, Thailand

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 09
Chiang Mai, Thailand
By S. R. Grasso
27 Feb 2015

Young construction worker on break at a the site of a future hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 10
Chiang Mai, Thailand
By S. R. Grasso
27 Feb 2015

Little girl assisting her parents on a construction site in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 06
Loi Ta Leng, Myanmar
By S. R. Grasso
06 Feb 2015

Young soldier at the Shan State Army (South) National Day in Loi Ta Leng, Myanmar.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 05
Samut Sakhon, Thailand
By S. R. Grasso
31 Jan 2015

Teenage boy ending his night shift from a factory in Samut Sakhon, Thailand.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 07
Samut Sakhon, Thailand
By S. R. Grasso
31 Jan 2015

Young teen working at the Samut Sakhon fish market in Samut Sakhon, Thailand.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 03
Kathmandu, Nepal
By S. R. Grasso
09 Jan 2015

Child selling items in the street in Kathmandu, Nepal.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 04
Kathmandu, Nepal
By S. R. Grasso
09 Jan 2015

Child selling items on a street in Kathmandu, Nepal.

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Child Labor in Yemen
Sana'a, Yemen
By dustweare
24 Sep 2014

Saleh Abdallah al-Raymi has been a labourer in the capital Sanaa since the age of seven. But his is, unfortunately, not an extraordinary case. He's one of more than a million child labourers in Yemen, and the numbers are increasing as the country is plunging deeper into its political and financial crisis.

Shotlist:

Saleh pushes his wheelbarrow towards work in the old city of Sanaa
Close up of Saleh's face while he speaks in off
Interview of Saleh in the living room of his family's house
Saleh lifting cage full of groceries in the market
Saleh's employer talking while Saleh loads the car
Video portrait of a kid at work in Old Sanaa
Sanaa cityscape. Women veiled walking, cars passing by, barbed wire, mountains in background
Soldiers controlling cars in a check point in Sanaa city
Saleh walking the street towards his house
Close up of Saleh's dad while he speaks in off
Saleh's father sitting in the house's living room while he is interviewed
Saleh entering the house
Saleh's father praying in the living room
Saleh's walking up the stairs of the house
Saleh's father sitting in the house's living room while he is interviewed
pot pouring steam in the kitchen
Saleh's brothers and father eat in the living room

Script:

Saleh Abdallah al-Raymi walking through the streets of Sana'a.

SALEH Abdallah al-Raymi (Arabic): “Here you find real heritage, and it's pretty. Tourists come here to visit.”

VO: “Through the narrow, historical streets of the old city in Sana'a. [Two-second pause] Through architecture you only find here in Yemen. A unique place. But also the workplace of many children.”

SALEH (Arabic): “My name is Saleh Abdallah Hassan Ahmad al-Maswari, and I'm 16 years old.”

Saleh BEING INTERVIEWED

SALEH (Arabic): “I get up in the morning, and then I go to school. I stay there till 12 o'clock, before going back home. At home I eat lunch, and then I go to work.”

Saleh WHILE HE'S WORKING

SALEH (Arabic): “I work with a wheel-barrow at the market place. I transport vegetables and fruit. Anything really.”

VO: “Saleh Abdallah al-Raymi started working when he was seven years old. But his story is not unique. [Pause for two seconds]. In Yemen there are 1,3 million child labourers. Children as young as 5 are seen working in the Yemeni capitol. And the work is tough.”

VO: “The country has seen years of political and economical unrest, and can't seem to turn the tide. As a result, many families are forced to send their children to work. For most of them, it's not a choice.”

Saleh WALKING TOWARDS THE HOUSE

ABDALLAH Hassan al-Raymi (Arabic): “I'm the father of Mohammed, the oldest, and then Saleh, Mokhtar, Aziz, Fikri, Osama, Amira, Uthnan. All in all we're twelve people in the family.”

VO: “Abdallah Hassan al-Raymi WANTS the best for his children. But kidney failure has made him unable to work. And with no functioning welfare state in Yemen, three of his sons are now the family providers. [Pause, two seconds] Their father has bigger dreams for them.”

ABDALLAH Hassan al-Raymi (Arabic): “For example for Saleh to go study, and then get work in company or at a factory. That's better. What they do now is hard. It's really hard work to be at the market with the wheel-barrows. But if they could work somewhere with a steady paycheck, that would be a lot better. Then they would be able to cover all the expenses we have.”

VO: “Their biggest worry right now is their landlord threatening them with eviction. They are not able to pay the full rent every month.”

STAND-UP: It’s here through historical streets inaccessible by car where childern like Saleh Abdallah al-Raymi are needed. The problem of child labor in Yemen has become severe, maybe too severe to be solved in the near future.

NOOR al-Kasadi, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF (English): “It affect them negatively actually. It deprive the children ...”

VO: “He's working every day, but says he has been lucky. He hasn't been exposed to any kind of severe harassment. But, it's a hard life. A life he doesn't want for his younger siblings.”

SALEH (Arabic): “A man can do this job easily. But a boy isn't able to do it as well. [PAUSE] I see myself as a boy -- still.”

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Egyptian Leather Tanners
Egypt
By Mai Shaheen
02 May 2014

Thousands of workers in Cairo’s leather tanneries interact with dangerous chemicals that pose significant health risks. The Egyptian industry fails to provide them with adequate gear that protect them respiratory and intestinal diseases from prolonged exposure to chromium and other harmful substances. Many of the subjects are family members who have followed the professions of their parents and grandparents in Cairo.
This photo essay provides an intimate look at the filthy, poor conditions under which they work in the industrial area behind the Magra A-Oyoun wall in South Cairo, which dates to the Sultan Salah Al-Din Al-Ayubi, the founder of Ayyubid Egypt, in 1169.

There are hundreds of tanneries behind the Magra Al-Oyoun wall in south Cairo, built by Sultan Salah Al-Din Al-Ayubi, the founder of Ayyubid Egypt in 1169. Two industries coexist in the tanneries of Cairo: the production of gelatin and leather, both from the treatment of animal skins. The tanneries have been around for hundreds of years. over 500 tanneries, 160 glue factories and 350 service shops stocking chemicals, carpenters, dyes and paints are located behind the Magra Al-Oyoun wall in south Cairo. More than 20,000 workers toil in the tanneries, mostly in jobs inherited from their parents and grandparents.

Workers in the tanneries including:
Zenhom, his son Ahmed, his brother Ali and his uncle. The family members have lived there for their entire lives, and inherited the jobs from parents and grandparents. Zenhom carries the timber that the leather hangs from as it dries in the sun. His son Ahmed removes the staples from the leather after its dried. Ragab and Jamal haul bails of leather after tanning.

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The Gold Mines of Burkina Faso
Yako
By Dennis & Patrick Weinert
24 Mar 2014

This photo essay gives an insight into Burkina Faso’s growing gold industry and depicts the humans that risk their lives extracting this precious metal.

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Child Labor in Southeast Asia 02
Battambang, Cambodia
By S. R. Grasso
23 Mar 2014

Girl living and collecting waste in a garbage dump near Battambang, Cambodia.

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Female Migrant Workers in Lebanon
Beirut, Lebanon
By Osie Greenway
26 Feb 2014

Migrant workers in Lebanon have little protection under current labor laws, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation. Many of Lebanon’s estimated 200,000 domestic workers who come to the country for work often face extremely challenging living and working conditions. It is estimated that there are thousands more foreign workers in the country. The Human Rights Watch estimated that in 2008, an average of one domestic worker died in Lebanon per week. Most of these deaths are a result of suicides or attempts to escape their employers. Even when they manage to escape, once their contract is broken, they no longer have identification documents and can end up in an even more deplorable situation. The situation for these migrant workers as a whole is difficult. But despite the challenges and dire situations for a majority of migrant domestic workers, some of them have also done incredible things in Lebanon with their personal strength and the support of their network in the country. Each of these women have a story. And each story tells a piece of the collective experience of a female migrant worker in Lebanon. Masaret fights quietly for the rights of migrant workers, from helping people in her network trapped in a bad situation to the people in her building without food. Rahel Zegeye, who is a domestic worker by day and a filmmaker/artist by night, fights louder. Rahel Abebe, who started a catering service for Ethiopian food in Lebanon’s capital of Beirut, and was Lebanon's first migrant worker to have a lawsuit filed on her behalf against discrimination. These are the female migrant workers of Beirut. Photos by Osie Greenway Text and Captions by Melissa Tabeek

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Blood Sugar 016
By Ruom
29 Mar 2013

January 8, 2013
Omliang, Kampong Speu, Cambodia

Trucks offload the sugar cane onto a belt that takes the cane into a crusher.

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Blood Sugar 020
By Ruom
16 Jan 2013

January 16, 2013
Srei Ambel, Koh Kong, Cambodia

Sugar cane collectors come back home after a day of work.

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Blood Sugar 013
By Ruom
16 Jan 2013

January 16, 2013
Srei Ambel, Koh Kong, Cambodia

B. S. (11) takes a break from working on the sugar cane plantation. Seth works normally 2 days a week trying to not miss too many days of school.

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Blood Sugar 006
By Ruom
16 Jan 2013

January 16, 2013
Srei Ambel, Koh Kong, Cambodia

B. S. (11) carries a bunch of sugar cane. To help his family (evicted from their land in 2006 to make way for the sugar plantation), S. works normally 2 days a week trying to not loose too many days of school.

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Blood Sugar 012
By Ruom
16 Jan 2013

January 16, 2013
Srei Ambel, Koh Kong, Cambodia

N. T. even if he's just 9 years old, helps his parents count and make bunches of sugar canes. He's from Bang Village, about 2 hours drive away from the plantations, where he lives with his other 2 brothers. His family decided to start working in the plantations as the area is suffering a very strong drought and they are not able to cultivate their lands.

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Blood Sugar 011
By Ruom
16 Jan 2013

January 16, 2013
Srei Ambel, Koh Kong, Cambodia

In order to facilitate the cutting, the sugar cane workers burn part of the fields.

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Blood Sugar 017
By Ruom
16 Jan 2013

January 16, 2013
Srei Ambel, Koh Kong, Cambodia

Sugar cane collectors wait to be payed after a hard days work. They earn around 2.5 USD per day, and their employment normally lasts only three months per year.

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Blood Sugar 005
By Ruom
16 Jan 2013

January 16, 2013
Srei Ambel, Koh Kong, Cambodia

A woman cuts sugar cane in the sugar plantation of Srei Ambel, Koh Kong, Cambodia.

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Blood Sugar 009
By Ruom
16 Jan 2013

January 16, 2013
Srei Ambel, Koh Kong - Cambodia

C.S (14yr. old) works a couple days a week in the plantion to help his family. In order to facilitate the cutting, sugar cane fields are burnt before harvesting.

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Blood Sugar 024
By Ruom
15 Jan 2013

January 15, 2013
Srei Ambel, Koh Kong, Cambodia

K. K. (13) hugs his little sister after a day working in the sugar cane plantations. This picture is part of a project called Blood Sugar, an in-depth piece on the boom of the sugar industry in Cambodia, and the effects this rapid development is having on small-scale farmers and rural communities.

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Blood Sugar 015
By Ruom
09 Jan 2013

January 9, 2013
Omliang, Kampong Speu, Cambodia

Machinery is used to load the trucks with sugar cane.

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Blood Sugar 001
By Ruom
08 Jan 2013

January 8, 2013
Omliang, Kampong Speu

Manual labourers camp at the Phnom Penh Sugar plantation.

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Blood Sugar 025
By Ruom
08 Jan 2013

January 8, 2013
Omliang, Kampong Speu, Cambodia

Laborers bathe near the manual laborers camp, Phnom Penh sugar plantation.

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Blood Sugar 014
By Ruom
08 Jan 2013

January 8, 2013
Omliang, Kampong Speu, Cambodia

Trucks wait to enter the factory to unload the sugar cane.

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Blood Sugar 004
By Ruom
08 Jan 2013

January 8, 2013
Omliang, Kampong Speu, Cambodia

The little primary school of Omlaing. According to the teachers, there's a very high rate of children who leave the school (mainly of students above 15/16 years old) to work in the plantations of sugar cane, as many families have lost their lands and they need more income.

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Blood Sugar 027
By Ruom
08 Jan 2013

January 8, 2013
Omliang, Kampong Speu, Cambodia

A family prepares breakfast before they start working in the sugar cane plantations.

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Blood Sugar 018
By Ruom
07 Jan 2013

January 8, 2013
Omliang, Kampong Speu, Cambodia

T. N. (61) walks home after a day working in the plantations. She was evicted from her 7 hectares of land in 2011, and was forced to accepted a compensation of 300USD (the estimate value of 1 hectare is around 5.000 USD). Now she and her family, don't own any land and they're not self-sufficient anymore (2.5 of the 7 hectares were rice fields) and they had to ask the bank for loans.