Urgent action needed to tackle child labour in Syria

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Two young boys carry water at Qah, a makeshift camp for displaced people in northern Syria, near the Turkish border. Photo: Jodi Hilton/IRIN

The conflict and humanitarian crisis in Syria are pushing an increasing number of children into exploitation in the labour market, according to UN.

A report released on Thursday by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the organization Save the Children stresses that much more needs to be done to reverse the trend.

The civil war in the Middle Eastern country entered its fifth year last March.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

The report shows that inside Syria, children are now contributing to the family income in more than three quarters of surveyed households.

In some parts of Lebanon, children as young as six years old are reportedly working. 

The study finds that the most vulnerable of all working children are those involved in armed conflict, sexual exploitation and illicit activities including organised begging and child trafficking. 

The organization Save the Children is highlighting that as families become increasingly desperate, children are working primarily for their survival and are becoming what it called "main economic players".

The report also finds that a spiralling number of children are employed in harmful working conditions, risking serious damage to their health and wellbeing. 

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

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