Owing to poverty and lack of proper education, Lebanese children between the ages of 10 and 17 years are subjected to harsh working conditions as they need to earn and provide food for their family members. Working under-age children in Lebanon is a familiar sight and most of them come from the families that are economically very poor. As the financial conditions of the family are extremely poor and some of them remain sick throughout their life, so therefore, the families tend to use all the family members to earn a better income each day. As a result, most of the Lebanese children can be seen in the streets, busy earning something for their family.
According to UNICEF, an estimated 39 percent of the Lebanese population is below the age of 19 compared to most of the countries. It has also been found that Child Labor is more prominent in the areas of the South and the North than in Beirut. It is becoming a common sight in Beirut where street children can be seen begging at traffic intersections. By the age of 6 male children enter the labor market to earn for their family. Their eyes reflect their agony as they can be seen hanging around for some form of work while others can be seen wiping off dirty car windows, repairing cars, selling ordinary goods in the streets, handling of metal work, artisan establishments, butcheries, and working in tobacco fields. And even if the children work for the entire day the salaries of these working children are very low. Furthermore, due to the tiring work agenda they miss out leisure time to spend with friends and hardly find any free time for themselves to indulge in other activities.
Though some of the children are enrolled in schools but they don’t have the time to go as a result of their work pressure. It has been found by the UNICEF that 95 percent of the children aged between 10 to 13 years are illiterate while 84 percent of children aged between 14 to 17 years are also illiterate. What is saddening is that, most of the children don’t want to work and are being forced to work due to the poor economic conditions of their family. And in some cases extreme violent measure ranging from beatings to sexual abuse are undertaken by if the child refuses to go for the work.
If the grounds for the huge number of child labor is evaluated the main cause comes from the households themselves. It has been found that the parents of the working children are mostly illiterate (approximately 23 percent of the fathers and 40 percent of mothers of working children are illiterate), and because of this they cannot find a good income job for themselves leaving them dependent on their children to earn for the family. These families also have a large number of members, thus increasing the need for food and water supplies. All this has forced the children to venture out in the street and the ministry plays an inadequate role in fighting the situation.