More than 8 per cent (9.2 million) of all children in the 5-17 years age group are in child labour in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), according to ILO figures from 2012. More than 5 of them are doing hazardous work.
In addition, a large number of Syrian refugee children are now working long hours for little pay. According to CARE, a humanitarian organisation, at least 50,000 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon needed to work to support their families in November 2013. The figure for Jordan was estimated at 30,000 at the time, but it could be higher.
“I talked to a 13-year-old boy who has to work 15 hours every day. Similar to many others, he had to accept a wage as little as two dollars a day, and sometimes his boss does not pay him at all,” said Salam Kanaan, CARE Jordan Country Director, in a statement.
”His hands are tied because he does not have a work permit and he cannot lose his job (because) his family would have no source of income.”