Solving Lebanon’s child labor crisis

This story was originally published in The Daily Star.

child labor
Children sell flowers to motorists in Beirut. Photo courtesy Mahmoud Kheir/The Daily Star

October 29, 2013

BEIRUT: Mohammad says he’s 13, but it’s hard to believe him. With his tiny, hunched form, cavernous cheeks and emaciated limbs, he looks closer to 8 or 9 years old.

Having fled Syria without his family, Mohammad works as a shoe-shiner on the streets of Hamra, beginning at 7 a.m. every day and working until 7 p.m. At the end of his 12-hour shift he will have earned a total of LL 5,000 – just over $3.

As the influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon continues and the economic situation in the country declines, the number of child laborers is increasing.

Thousands of Syrian children are working to support their families, while the country’s declining economy has also had an effect on Lebanese and Palestinian children, who are increasingly expected to work. Continue reading