Child Salvery in Africa

By: Leah Hart & Jackson Meadows

The Problem:

The children of Africa are seen as a cheap labor force. As a result, they are being sold into the hands of traffickers at a very young age. These young children are sold because their families simply can't afford to take care of them any longer. It is an easy way for parents to get out of their "debt" of caring for a child (Manheimer). According to Manheimer, these children are forced to do manual labor, cleaning, cooking, and caring for other people's children.

The History (Causes):

Child slavery dates back to centuries ago. It is an issue that effects all areas of the world in some way. These helpless children are being sold into slavery against their will. They are forced to work in terrible conditions that should not be tolerated. They spend the entirity of their childhood spending countless hours in unsafe places, doing manual labor for little to no pay. It is estimated that over 200,000 children are sold into the dreaded labor force each year throughout the regions of Benin, Burkina, Faso, Cameroon, Cote D'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo (Manheimer).

The Effects:

As a result of Child Slavery, many children live in the constant fear of physical, mental, and emotional abuse (Shell). According to Manheimer, tons of females are raped and sexually mistreated after being sold into this terrible and misfortunate life. If the children choose to runaway, they are more likely to be homeless, starved, and more suseptible to rape. Many runaways face disease, sickness, and ultimately an early death (Manheimer). These children are basically being robbed of their childhood. Many females are more likely to become pregnant and contract a sexually transmitted disease, such as HIV, after being sold into the system (Shell).

Solutions:

A day has been set aside each year to remember the millions of children that are still forced to work illegally in foreign nations. This particular day is June 12 and it was first celebrated in 2004 (Manheimer). According to Manheimer, The United States no longer trades or purchases materials that were produced by illegal child work forces. This is a step in the right direction but more needs to be done to put an end to the tragic abuse these helpless children go through constantly. We are going to have to take a bigger stand to keep these events from occurring any longer.

Conclusion:

The mental, emotional, and physical pain these defenseless children go through is truly heartbreaking. Many Americans are unaware of what is currently occurring in these regions of the world due to our lack of knowledge and exposure. The abusers should be brutally punished for their illicit actions towards helpless children. We should stand up for the children that can't speak for themselves inorder to make a difference.

Works Cited

Manheimer, Ann. Child Labor and Sweatshops. Farmington Hills, Michigan. Thomson Gale. 2006. Print.

Sheil, Mike. “Children Sold as Slaves in West Africa”. ABCnews, 22 May 2013 Web. 10 March 2014.