|Iraqi Children Left Homeless After U.S. Invasions|
-Isn't it wonderful that the U.S. helped the people of Iraq?
A growing number of Iraqi refugee children in
"There are more and more Iraqi families sliding into poverty," Farah Dakhlallah, a public information officer for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in
"One of the indicators that child labor is on the rise is if you look at the school dropout rate," she explained. "There were fewer Iraqi children enrolled in 2008-2009 than in previous years. This could be attributed to a number of factors, such as resettlements or returns, but we also think that child labor, as a result of economic hardship, is a primary factor for these dropout rates."
Most children in the child labor market are engaged in low-wage jobs such as working in eateries or cleaning toilets.
Dakhlallah said that while child labor is not restricted to the refugee population, and Syrian children are also sent to work, the refugee population tends to be the most vulnerable and susceptible to economic difficulties.
"We try to assist vulnerable families, we help rehabilitate schools, provide support to the Ministry of Education and we recently funded the opening of two schools," she said. "At the beginning of each academic year we have a school-kit distribution and we provide Iraqi children with backpacks, school supplies and new school uniforms. We also try to assist children in coping with changes in the curriculum by providing remedial classes."
Iraqi refugees in
"A lot of Iraqis work on the illegal market which helps them to subsist, but it also exposes then to a lot of exploitation," Dakhlallah said.
According to UNICEF, the U.N. child organization, an estimated 158 million children aged 5 to 14 - one in six children in the world - are engaged in child labor.
The organization says that children living in poor households and in rural areas are most likely to be engaged in child labor and that those burdened with household chores are overwhelmingly girls, who are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.