“Fear Allah and treat your children [small or grown] fairly (with equal justice).”
(The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
It’s three fifty-nine, you’re in bed fast asleep. The clock suddenly strikes four. You wake up and jump out of bed. You can feel the cold, dusty floor freezing your feet. You go to your loom in the carpet factory. You sit their knotting threads until midnight. Tragically, you’re only four years old. This is the life for many children forced into child slave labour. There are many different types of abuse children in slave labour go through. Children are abused, denied freedom and exposed to many things that are dangerous to their health. This is why child slave labour should be banned.
One reason child slave labour should be banned is because the children are abused. Children in child slave labour endure all kinds of abuse. One kind of abuse children endure is physical abuse. The stories are endless. Children as young as 10 have been found working for Gap Kids and are beaten for messing up clothing. One boy in Thailand who worked for a fishing company was thrown into the sea by his master. It is common that Thai children in child slave labour are starved and beaten. A boy in Pakistan working in the brick factory had his hand smashed by his master for refusing to do work. The second type or abuse children endure is neglect. Neglect is a pattern of failing the needs of a child’s basic and emotional needs. Children in the Congo who work in factories are starved. These children are underweight and as young as the age of 5. Finally children are verbally abused. Some girls in Morocco are frequently verbally abused by their masters for messing up. Some Indian children who make clothes are verbally abused and threatened for even messing up the simplest stitch. They are called words like dumb and stupid.
Another reason child slave labour should be banned is because freedom is taken away from the children. One thing children lose is the freedom to play. These children work long hours and don’t have time to play. Children in the brick factories work from dawn to dusk and have no breaks or time to play. Next, children lose their freedom of visiting their families. Some children working in the cocoa plants are banned from visiting their families. Imagine living a life where you could never see your Mom, Dad or siblings. Finally, children are denied their freedom of education. Over two million children in Uzbekistan are forced to leave school and pick cotton. In the Congo more than four million children under child slave labour are without education, because their masters have made them busy in slave work.
I never saw anyone who was more compassionate towards children than Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). His son Ibrahim was in the care of a wet nurse in the hills around Madinah. He would go there, and we would go with him, and he would enter the house, pick up his son and kiss him, then come back. (Muslim)
Lastly, children are exposed to many dangers to their health. First, children in the mines develop breathing and lung problems. Children working in the mines inhale dust and minerals and other hazardous particles in the air. Secondly, children who work indoors have the problem of loss of sunlight. Without sunlight a person will not grow properly just like a flower. In the book Iqbal, it explains how Iqbal and the rest of the children working in the carpet factory for their master Hussain Khan were working in dark places. It also mentioned that Iqbal was short, because of this. Lastly, children get many injuries. Children in the mining industries are exposed to minerals, oil and machinery exhaust. Children also work in narrow river-beds that are at constant risk of collapsing. Thousands of children have already died. Some children, like a boy named Lukoji who work in the brick factories, use their own bare hands and feet to dig, wash and lift heavy loads. This leads to high risks of injuries and deaths. These are some reasons child slave labour can be dangerous to the health of children working under child slave labour.
Child slave labour should be banned, but how will it stop? There are many different types of ways to stop child slave labour. It would be hard, but at least we can try and make a difference. Child slave labor is wrong and should be put to an end. Do you think the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) would ever be rude to a child or beat a child? We should be taking him as our role model and find out how he used to treat children. He treated kids with respect and tolerance, took their opinion and problems seriously as if they were adults, but also hugged them, kissed them and gave them sweets to show his love for children.
Allah’s Messenger kissed Al-Hasan ibn `Ali while Al-Aqra` ibn Habis At-Tamim was sitting with him . Al-Aqra` said, “I have ten children and have never kissed one of them.” The Prophet cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.” (Al-Bukhari)
Next time you go to the store try to find out if that piece of clothing hasn’t been made by a child under child slave labour. Would you like if you were supporting abuse on children in slave labour. It takes one person to make a difference. We have to be good Muslims by stopping this ugly act and ban these companies that abuse children. We should write to them and tell them that we will not buy their products until they stop and provide clear proof that they have stopped.
There is no one to stand up for these kids, I know that our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) would have been the first to stand up for them that’s why I want to help to stop child slave labour.
Will you help?
Ivanna Imran Shaikh is a twelve year old student residing in Ontario, Canada. She has dreams of becoming a Scholar and Teacher of Islam one day as well as an Activist for Human Rights, Insha’Allah. In her spare time she loves to do anything creative and spends time with Family and Friends.
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