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Jordan: 60,000 Syrian refugee children working in dangerous conditions

Dangerous exploitation of Syrian refugee children rampant in Jordan, 12 Dec 2016

Children who fled violence in Syria to find refuge in Jordan are increasingly forced to work long hours at low wages to help their families survive... It’s estimated that at least 60,000 children from Syria are working in conditions that are often dangerous, exploitative and without any real government oversight ... 51.4 percent (668,000) of the 1.3 million Syrians living in Jordan are children. An even more neglected group are the 16,000 Palestinians who fled to Jordan from Syria, of whom about 6,560 are children. Even adults from this group are prohibited from working in Jordan … the report outlines the dynamics that force children to work instead of attending school. The primary factor is the high cost of living; Amman, the capital city of Jordan, is considered the most expensive city in the Middle East. In addition, only about 10 percent of the refugees are eligible for cash assistance from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Yet many of the families lost breadwinners in the civil war; 30 percent of the Palestinian-Syrian families are headed by women ... Other factors fueling child labor are the demand among Jordanian employers for low-wage workers and the inability of the country’s schools to accommodate the influx of refugees. The report documents that 80 percent of child workers are not allowed any holidays and are paid wages of 90-150 dinar per month (US$127-211) --far less than the minimum wage in Jordan. In Al-Zaatari refugee camp (the largest camp in the Middle East and the second-largest worldwide) 24 percent of child workers said in a recent survey that they do not receive any payment at all...

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