June 24, 2021

Jordan: Child labor rises due to Covid-19

Jordan: Child labor rises due to Covid-19

In Jordan, a 12-year-old boy has said that he has been on a seven-day street selling shift, in order to provide for his family, who are living in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Amman. “A small van drops us off here every day at 5 p.m. to sell gum and candies, and the driver comes at 10 p.m. to take us back to Wehdat,” Mamdouh said. Next to him were a nine-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy selling candy, Arab News reports.

Mamdouh also said that his 56-year-old father forced him to quit school in order to work and help feed the family. The young boy also insisted that no picture of him be used as he was fearful of labor ministry inspectors. Mamdouh disclosed: “We are six—two boys and four girls—but my father only allows my older brother and sister to go to school.”

IZA World of Labor author Eric V. Edmonds has looked into whether minimum age of employment regulation reduces child labor and has found that: “Coordinating schooling and employment regulations may help maximize the joint influence of these regulations on time allocation.” In his article, he writes that: “The evidence illustrates that merely adopting regulations on child employment is not sufficient to influence child labor. The global fight against child labor might be better served by focusing less on the laws that exist and more on their implementation and enforcement, as well as by addressing the root causes of child labor.”

A recent report by Workers’ House, a local NGO specialized in labor rights, has found that the expected number of working children in Jordan, aged between five and 17, will reach 100,000 by the end of the year. If so, this will be an increase of 25% from the figures reported in 2016. The report also highlighted a “worrying” rise in the number of children who have been subjected to child labor because of Covid-19. The economic uncertainty and rise in both poverty and unemployment rates in Jordan has meant that young children have been forced to work in order to make ends meet for their families.

Read Eric V. Edmonds’ article Does minimum age of employment regulation reduce child labor? and find more content on Covid-19 and its impact here.