The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced yesterday that almost one quarter of Afghan children are forced to work. Girls are more likely to be working than boys, and the problem is worst in rural areas, UNICEF says, pointing to "poverty, lack of educational opportunities, and the demand for cheap labor" as the principal conditions contributing to child labor. Additionally, the low rate of registered births in the war-torn country makes it difficult to verify a child's actual age.
Much of child labor can be detrimental to the mental, physical, and social development of children. They are employed to cheaply perform often-dangerous labor. Employers prefer young workers, because, as Noriko Izumi, head of child protection for UNICEF in Afghanistan, points out, "Children are cheaper to employ than adults and easier to manipulate."
UNICEF is urging the Afghan government to sign and ratify two conventions of the International Labor Organization: one concerns the minimum employment age and the other addresses hazardous work.
Still, many children are forced to work because of the lack of educational opportunities. Girls' schools in particular have been targeted by Taliban insurgents. Teachers and parents who chose to educate girls have been targeted -- including a girls' school headmaster who was murdered in her home earlier this month -- as well as students. Last week, two gunmen opened fire outside a girls' school, killing two students and wounding six others.
9/12/2014 Violence Against Women Act Turns 20 - Saturday will be the 20th Anniversary of the groundbreaking federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Passed in 1994, VAWA was the first piece of federal legislation to specifically address domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes and to provide federal funding to improve local response to violence against women, including training and resources for law enforcement and judges.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday issued a proclamation commemorating the VAWA anniversary. . . .
9/12/2014 Indiana Woman Charged With Feticide For Premature Delivery - An Indiana woman has been charged with feticide after she delivered prematurely and sought hospital treatment.
Purvi Patel, 33, sought help at an emergency room for vaginal bleeding where it was discovered that she had delivered prematurely at home. . . .