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Nearly half a million children work In Ukraine

04.12.2006

More than 456 thousand children in Ukraine are working, mainly in the illegal sectors of the economy.  This is firstly in begging, but also pornography and sexual exploitation.

These statistics were reported by the Head of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine Volodymyr Hryshchenko during an international seminar “The Employers’ Organization is endeavouring to counter human trafficking and eliminate the worst forms of child labour”.

“We are forced to acknowledge that this exists in Ukraine, and as a rule, these are children between the ages of 9 and 13-14. This is appalling”..

In addition child labour is used in coal regions at so-called illegal mines. Mr Hryshchenko says that children also work in the rural economy, but emphases that here there are two sides to the issue since traditionally in the Ukrainian countryside children have always been involved in farm work.

It is necessary therefore, he stresses, to establish the borders between work upbringing of children and child exploitation. In his view if the agricultural work influences the child’s learning process, than this must be considered “an ill”.

Hryshchenko noted that for employers child labour is profitable in the main because children can be paid less than adults. For example, begging brings in on average 178 UH a month (around 35 USD), while in other sectors a child’s monthly income is around 333 UH. Furthermore children are not in a position to stand up to unlawfully large workloads. Hryshchenko also commented that at present, unfortunately, there is a demand for child pornography and children are used for this.

One of the methods for preventing the exploitation of child workers is to acknowledge that there is such a problem and in his view this is extremely important, as is also public opinion.  He emphasises that legalization of child labour can under no circumstances be considered.

www.korrespondent.net based on material from www.liga.net

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