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International day against child slavery – 16 April

It is not child work, it is child slavery.

In this new century, we can still witness one of the most shameful situations of our time: there are 400 million enslaved children between 4 and 14 years old around the world, 165 million are under 5. Wars, prostitution, labour exploitation, starvation, ill-treatment… are the normal day for millions of children.

Children’s exploitation continues increasing (it is multiplied in the impoverished South and it reappears in the enriched North) as a consequence of international trade, the technological monopoly, the passivity and cynicism of international organisms worldwide, economic policies imposed by international financial institutions (World Bank, International Monetary Fund, etc.) and their complicity with governments who favour multinational companies.

The 16th of April of 1995, a Pakistani boy called Iqbal Mashi, Catholic militant of the Bonded Labour Liberation Front of Pakistan was murdered at the age of 12 by the mafia of carpets after receiving many threats for having closed companies in which all the workers were young slaves. His example spread internationally; he was awarded a prize in Stockholm and Boston and dedicated the money to open a school; he stated his intention to become a lawyer to continue fighting against child slavery.

In memory of Iqbal, a symbol of 400 million child slaves, we demand the 16th of April be set as the International Day against Child Slavery.

Source: Text & Image: Solidaridad.net

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