Child labour in shrimp sector
Sheikh Tanzir Ahmed
The shrimp has been enriching the rich and affluent urban people of the country though it is depriving the poor rural communities that are engaged with this sector. It is mainly the women and children of shrimp farming communities who suffer the most while their basic human rights are also violated.
Although lots of discussion and consultation have been held about the child labourer in shrimp industry but still no steps were taken to stop child repression in shrimp farming. As a result the child labour who are engaged with this sector are being deprived of their basic child rights according to the Child Right Convention and domestic laws of the country.
Large numbers of children are involved in shrimp farming in the southwest part of Bangladesh like Satkhira, Khulna and Chittagong. Mainly the poorest fisherman family and farming community are engaged in shrimp farming. Thousands of children from rural areas have been hired for this work for their cheap labour in processing factories or depots as shrimp fry collector, which are among the lowest paid jobs in shrimp production.
Thousands of children from the age of six to seven are employed in shrimp fry fisheries. This work entails dragging mesh nets through the brackish waters and sorting the catch. Collection is often time-consuming and children has to work up to 13-14 hours daily and within that time they had to spend 6-8 hours under the water. As a result most of them are suffering from various diseases like, skin and respiratory diseases, urinary problems, sunstroke and hepatitis B infection. No health care services are provided for them and they are so vulnerable that they can not even complain for that.
The writer is a child journalist working for Shishuprakash, an initiative being implemented by Mass Line Media Centre in collaboration of UNICEF.