By marking the World Day Against Child Labor, Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection in Kosovo – KOMF, urges relevant institutions to take measures to prevent and protect children involved in labor.
Children involved in hazardous child labor are exposed to a number of risks for their health and various forms of child rights violations, including: neglect, ill-treatment, physical and psychological abuse, and in some cases the lack of registration, lack of access to education and lack of shelter, putting themselves at risk of sexual exploitation and/or trafficking.
According to the latest data from the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, the percentage of children in labor results to be 10.7 percent, while 6.8 percent of them work in hazardous conditions.
While only during the 4th, 5th, 6th and 11th of June 2018, in the Municipality of Prishtina and Prizren, 153 children on street situation were observed and counted. These children were involved in hazardous labor such as begging, recycling, and selling different items. Observation and interviewing has been organized from trained staff of Terre des hommes in cooperation with social workers. Prior to field work, relevant institutions have been officially informed and invited to participate in field work.
These data indicates that Kosovo as a state is not addressing the issue of children working on the streets and at the same time is not taking any initiative on budget planning and services to protect these children.
Currently, there are no specific services that municipalities offer in order to address children protection; including day care centers, mobile services and rehabilitation and reintegration services (including social, educational and psychological support for children and their families).
KOMF appeals to municipalities of Kosovo to provide sustainable funding for social services in order to enable municipal officials to provide quality services for the prevention and protection of children involved in hazardous labor. Municipalities are strongly recommended to establish day care centers for children involved in hazardous work, to provide treatment, protection, rehabilitation and reintegration of children in street situations exploited for hazardous child labor.
Furthermore, KOMF appeals on raising society’s awareness to prevent the phenomenon of children in hazardous labor.