Verlorene Kindheit

Das Elend arbeitender Kinder kann man auf aller Welt beobachten. Die Internationale Arbeitsorganisation (ILO) schätzt, dass 90 Millionen Kinder im Alter zwischen acht und fünfzehn Jahren in den Entwicklungsländern zu den Arbeitskräften zählen; weltweit ist die Zahl höher. Sie arbeiten häufig unter gefährlichen Bedingungen, hantieren mit giftigen Chemikalien, atmen giftige Dämpfe ein und schleppen schwere Lasten. Sie sind normalerweise überarbeitet, unterernährt und unterbezahlt wenn sie überhaupt bezahlt werden.

Obwohl viele Länder Gesetze erlassen haben, die den Einsatz und Missbrauch von Kindern als Arbeitskräfte verbieten, ist Optimismus über die Bedingungen, denen arbeitende Kinder ausgesetzt sind, unbegründet. Diese Schlussfolgerung beruht auf einer unausweichlichen Tatsache: Die meisten arbeitenden Kinder sichern durch ihre Anstrengungen das Überleben ihrer Familie.

Weil Kinderarbeit gleichbedeutend mit billiger Arbeit ist, lassen sich Jugendliche in Entwicklungs- und von Rezession geplagten Ländern oft am besten vermitteln. Der Direktor eines mittelgroßen Textilunternehmens in Bangladesh gibt unumwunden zu, dass 70% seiner Angestellten zwischen 13 und 17 Jahre alt sind. "Sie sind genauso produktiv wie Erwachsene, kosten aber nur den Bruchteil", so der Direktor.

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