STOLEN CHILDHOODS - THE WORLD'S WORST OFFENDERS
Sunday 28 April 1996
INDIA: Voluntary agencies estimate that more than 55 million children are working in match-making, quarrying, tanning, firework-making, carpet- weaving and glasswork factories. UNICEF figures suggest that 300,000 children work in the carpet industry alone, often as bonded labour in conditions like those described above. This lucrative trade is expected to earn some pounds 4m in 1995-96.
LIBERIA: In 1996 UNICEF estimated that child soldiers were being used in 25 different countries. Light weaponry like the AK47 - available for a mere pounds 4 in parts of Africa - can be stripped and reassembled by a child of 10. In Angola, Mozambique and Sudan, children have been seized and forcibly recruited. Renamo in Mozambique had at least 10,000 boy soldiers. In Sierra Leone in 1995 the Revolutionary United Front raided villages to capture children, who were forced to participate in the torture and execution of their own relatives to "bond" them to the unit. But it is in Liberia that things are currently worst: it is estimated that a quarter of the combatants in the current conflict there - some 20,000 - are children, recruited with varying degrees of coercion; the National Patriotic Front even has a "small boys unit" ranging in age from six to 20.
BRAZIL: In the remote Amazonian region of Para children aged between 11 and 15 are increasingly used as prostitutes in mining encampments. Girls are enticed from towns by promises of respectable work, then imprisoned incommunicado in brothels to service mining settlements which may be hours from the nearest village. The girls allege that the police are in collusion with the brothel owners and are paid to retrieve and beat fleeing girls.
GULF STATES: Children of five to 10 are used as jockeys for camel races. Agents buy village boys from Baluchistan, Bangladesh, Sudan and Mauritania; parents get a monthly remittance of up to pounds 109. Sometimes boys are kidnapped. After international pressure, laws were passed imposing a minimum age of 10, but these are often circumvented. Younger boys are prized for lightness and childish screams which encourage speed in their mounts. Tied to the saddle, they cannot roll free if a camel falls; there are an estimated dozen accidents a week, and have been many fatalities.
peopleContenders for Time magazine's Person of the Year are a mixture of the good, the bad and the holy
tvSteven Moffat reveals the actor was dying to take on the role of the Time Lord and says he is excited to see what he will do with the character
sportBayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3: City come from two down to beat reigning European Champions
newsAs the world remembers Mandela the hero, the prison where he spent 27 years seems all the more brutal
arts + ents... and a chance to paint Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel
danceUnder Tamara Rojo's inspired direction, it seems possible that it could challenge the dominance of the Royal Ballet. We meet some established names and rising stars
travelDiscover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side
Arts & Ents blogs
The 50 Best Christmas songs: Bells continue to ring for the Pogues' 'Fairytale of New York'
The X Factor winners: Where are they doing now?
Ben Whishaw to play Freddie Mercury in Dexter Fletcher film
Back from the dead? Family Guy's Brian Griffin 'to make a comeback' after fan petition
Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat says Peter Capaldi is NOT Malcolm Tucker
- 1 Mountain goats' miraculous escape from avalanche captured in dramatic video footage
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
- 4 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial
- < Previous
- Next >