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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

    

HIV/aids and child labour in Zambia: a rapid assessment on the case
of the Lusaka, Copperbelt and eastern provinces
By: International Labour Organization
Date: 2003-11-26  
 
This rapid assessment examined correlations between the HIV/Aids
pandemic and child labour in Zambia, and subsequently on the welfare
of children in terms of their health, education, etc. It assesses
gender issues related to HIV/Aids, as well as analysing the coping or
survival strategies of girls and boys, including Aids orphans and
assesses the child labourers' awareness and knowledge of HIV/Aids.

This research was conducted in three provinces: Copperbelt, Eastern,
and Lusaka. The sample included 306 child labourers: 211 boys and 95
girls in the five to 16-year age group. The study applied a
triangulatory approach.

 

  

Findings include:
* family circumstance: 1/3 has lost one or both parents, a sizeable
proportion of this group were engaged in prostitution and many were
also involved in other forms of child labour. The non-orphaned
children had parents whom they described as being either poor or
unemployed, many of these children were left to live on the street.
In this way, the HIV/AIDS pandemic exacerbated the extent of child
labour

* job types: vending on the street and in markets, quarrying and
stone breaking, fetching water, portering (kuzezera), household
chores or domestic work, digging wells and garbage pits, carpentry,
cooking nshima in the markets, cutting grass, picking bottles, and
prostitution earnings: the financial contributions of the child were
often the only income their families had. Over 90% of the child
labourers earned as little as US.00 per month, especially in the
Eastern Province

* health problems: most children worked in hazardous environments,
and were exposed to a variety of health problems including headaches,
fatigue, chest pains, injuries/bruises, painful/swollen legs, painful
ribs, coughing, stomach pains and diarrhoea, sore necks, sneezing,
backache, waist ache, malaria, and sexually transmitted infections
(STIs). Health services were described as expensive and usually
inaccessible. Self-medication combined with traditional therapies was
often the only recourse, while on many occasions no care or treatment
was sought

* education: few of these children advanced beyond grade 7, dropping
out of school to work was more common a factor than failure to pass
exams. Only 27% were in school since it required children to divide
their time between work and school while struggling to find money for
fees and supplies. The situation was worse for orphans. Almost every
child said that, if given an opportunity they would return to school

* prevalence of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE): among children
aged 14 to 16 years was common. Half of the 34 in-depth interviews
were conducted with CSE victims. Girls claimed they slept with as
many as 4 men per night and their earnings ranged between US
{ARTICLE_BODY}.63 and US.10 per act. Condoms were rarely used. Boys
clients tended to be rich widows who paid in dollars

* awareness of HIV/AIDS: over 86% of the children recognising the
dangers related to unsafe sex. Awareness was low among younger
children aged 5 to 11 years. Most failed to mention the principal
cause of HIV/AIDS (i.e.unprotected sex). Many children failed to
report at least three symptoms of the disease

* stigmatisation: HIV/AIDS victims in Zambia, according to most of
the children, suffered stigmatisation and discrimination resulting in
social isolation. Infected people were commonly held responsible,
since they had supposedly engaged in unprotected sex and "immoral
activities"

  



Available online at:

http://www.ilo.org/