Plan to support labor, street children in 12 provinces

June 26, 2021 - 16:54

TEHRAN – A five-point plan for labor and street children will be implemented in 12 provinces of the country, Mahmoud Aligo, an official with the Welfare Organization, has said.

Empowering the child's family, collecting labor children's biometric information, implementing a child-friendly plan, using the media system, and continuously monitoring the labor child’s condition through a special system is among the five steps of this plan, Aligo said.

“Using technology and identifying labor children by the iris of the eye, provides us with a comprehensive database of these children and prevents re-counting of these children in the plan,” he explained.

He went on to state that the child-friendly plan is a system according to which each child goes through a different path in order to be supported according to age group or nationality, YJC reported on Saturday.

The income of labor and street children is provided by people’s help in the street so that it is necessary to organize people’s contributions to go in a proper direction, he highlighted.

“We must promote the culture among the people not to ridicule these children but to treat them with respect because they are going to create the future,” he stated, adding, improper treatment of children on the street causes psychological harm to the child, which can last for years.

He pointed out that there are 14,000 cases of labor and street children covered by the welfare organization, which need to be followed up and the child’s condition should be monitored continuously.

To do this, a system has been designed, Aligo concluded.

70,000 street children 

There are two concepts for labor children, some of whom are street children and others who are not homeless but have to work to provide a family livelihood.

Street children are homeless boys and girls, aged under 18 years, for whom “the street” has become home or their source of livelihood, and who are inadequately protected or supervised.

According to the Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child (SPRC), there are 14,000 dumpsite pickers in Tehran, of which 4,700, or one-third of them, are children.

Habibollah Masoudi Farid, the deputy head of the Welfare Organization, announced in 2020 that there are an estimated 70,000 street children in the country. Of course, given that the conditions of children working in workshops are different, Masoudi Farid said that there are no exact statistics.

Under the law, the employment of children aged 15 or younger is prohibited in Iran and there are also restrictions on types of jobs that persons between 15 and 18 years can do. For example, no child is allowed to work on jobs that pose occupational health hazards.

Financially struggling children

Referring to the leading causes of child labor in the country, Seyed Hassan Mousavi Chalak, head of the Iranian Social Workers Association, said that the current causes of child labor in the country are similar to its global causes, which are economic and financial issues.

The inefficient social security system is another reason behind child labor. If the coverage of social security expands and becomes stronger, a significant part of this phenomenon will decrease.

Some 83-87 percent of working children are financially struggling families.

Currently, 5-6 million people (that are legally eligible for a living allowance) are under the coverage of the Welfare Organization and Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation and are receiving subsidies, but the pension does not cover their living expenses.

Although the financial burden is indeed heavy for the government, we missed the capacity to expand social support, which might have been affected by various factors, such as U.S. sanctions, improper management, etc.

Now that the country’s economy is not in good condition, the population in need of continued support is growing, and this is worrisome.

Working children are consequences of inefficient economic and social security systems.

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