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ICFTU launches report on child labour in Albania

ICFTU launches report on child labour in Albania

Brussels, (ICFTU Online): At their conference on child labour in Tirana, Albania (11th- 12th October 2004), the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and its two Albanian affiliates (KSSH and BSPSH) will launch a new study on the issue of child labour in Albania. The conference aims to raise awareness of the subject amongst local trade unions and to consider a number of areas in which they might get involved.

A recent study carried out for the ICFTU

shows that child labour is still a major problem in Albania. Every day tens of thousands of Albanian children work instead of attending school. They mainly work in agriculture, shoe and clothing production (especially for major Western European companies), selling of small goods in the streets (for example cigarettes and chewing-gum), washing of cars, begging and recycling of waste products.

The poverty resulting from the high level of unemployment and meagre wages is not the only reason behind the use of child labour in Albania. Major internal migration by Albanians is having an effect on the education system, whilst awareness of the importance of schooling has decreased amongst certain sections of the population. Failure to implement laws on compulsory education and on the minimum working age are other factors which give rise to child labour, as are dysfunctional families and attitudes towards certain minority groups. The problem of vendettas is also highlighted in the ICFTU report. For example, in the north and north-west of the country children are forced to stay at home out of fear that they could become victims of ongoing violent disputes between families.

Over 250 million children are working around the world. The trade union movement has always been at the forefront of the struggle against this form of exploitation. Its campaign, which includes the Global March against Child Labour, aims to draw the general public's attention to this issue. The conference in Tirana on 11th and 12th October 2004 is part of that campaign.

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