What if guns, drones, and defence budgets were not required in the fight against terrorism? What if militant groups and violent extremists were not the primary targets? What if the battle focused on children and, more specifically, the poverty that robs them of opportunities, a sense of belonging, and hope?
Kennedy Odede, co-founder of Shining Hope for Communities, grew up in Kibera, one of Africa’s largest urban slums. In his recent article in The Guardian, Odede says he’s witnessed what lack of hope can lead to:
I grew up with men and women in Kibera with enough energy, intelligence and entrepreneurial zeal to be a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Many of them were overwhelmed by the constant struggle for basic opportunity, like my dear friend Calvin who couldn’t see any way out and I found hanging one day in his small 3m x 3m (10ft x 10ft) room. His dreams never had a chance to become reality. There are millions like him.
Odede says poverty erodes “a basic human need: the need to belong.” This makes people vulnerable to recruitment by terrorist groups and gangs. Continue reading “Want to fight terrorism? Target child poverty.”
Jestoni* quit school at age 14 in order to take part in small-scale mining as a means to help support his family. They had abandoned farming for mining because of frequent flooding in their region of the Philippines. Jestoni’s mother worried about his safety as he dug in mine shafts for gold and carried heavy sacks of rock for eight to 12 hours per day.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), more than half (85 million) of the world’s 168 million child labourers perform hazardous work. Jestoni was one of the one million who work in mining.
The United States Department of Labor’s 2014 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor and Forced Labor indicates child labour and forced labour are used to produce 29 products in the mining and quarrying sector. The top products in this sector, based on the number of countries using child labour in the production, include gold (18 countries), coal (seven countries), and diamonds (six countries), but numerous other minerals, gems, and stones are also mined and quarried with the labour of children. Continue reading “Buried childhoods – Child labour in the mining and quarrying sector”
A few days ago, Free the Slaves posted a story from IndiaTimes.com to social media. It was about Air India ground staff being arrested for trafficking Nepalese women to Dubai. The organisation wrote:
One of the worst fears of human rights organisations – that the recent#Nepal #earthquake would lead to massive #humantrafficking from the country – seems to be coming true.
In the comments below the Free the Slaves post, some readers expressed despair because of their desire, as “average people,” to get involved “helping victims or working to eliminate” human trafficking but having little information for how they might make a positive difference. There are ways the public can contribute to assisting people who may fall victim to human trafficking. One way is to contribute to organisations that work towards alleviating the poverty that makes people vulnerable to human trafficking, through building sustainable livelihoods. These organisations also provide humanitarian relief when disasters like the earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25th occur. Continue reading “Human Trafficking – What to do when you feel helpless to help the victims”