A Future for Child Laborers

Publication Date: 
September 11, 2013

Every day, millions of children around the globe are forced into labor. Some are snatched from the streets and coerced into slavery by unscrupulous restaurant, factory and plantation owners. Others are abandoned by impoverished parents, only to find themselves toiling in textile mills and coal mines. In response to this ongoing crisis, the Salesians are stepping in to help victims of childhood slavery reclaim their lives.

These victims are boys and girls sometimes as young as four years old -- and their stories of lost childhoods and abuse are heartbreaking. With no hope of going to school or developing positive relationships, they stand little chance of breaking the cycle of exploitation, poverty and despair that plagues generations of children.

Fortunately, through specific projects focused on rescuing and educating child laborers, Salesians are offering new hope and brighter futures. In Bangalore, India, for example, missionaries have set up the Don Bosco Childline, which helps provide a safe haven for children in crisis. In January 2013 alone, it served 122 youth -- connecting them to shelters, medical facilities, counselors and more.

In Guayaquil, Ecuador, the Foundation Project for Street Children offers technical and vocational training for youth ages 8-16. Those who need it also find a home at the center where they receive nutritious meals, warm beds, safe surroundings, as well as spiritual and emotional support.

Since child slavery is both the result and cause of poverty, prevention is a key priority for the Salesians. Throughout the globe, programs offering traditional education and vocational training prepare marginalized youth for decent jobs, and teach them to become productive and active members of society. Additional sport, cultural and enrichment activities keep youth busy and off the streets, where they become vulnerable to exploitation.

While progress is being made, many children are still being exploited today. One child slave is one too many! Our mission helps protect vulnerable boys and girls. What’s your mission?

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