Population minister files complaint against factory owner for child labor

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CAIRO: Minister of State for Family and Population Affairs Moshira Khattab filed a complaint to Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud against the owner of a textile factory in Alexandria that collapsed in early December, accusing him of having used child labor.

Khattab urged Mahmoud “to take the necessary procedures against the factory owners who violated the law by hiring underage children to work in hazardous professions that could endanger their lives,” she said in a press statement.

Furthermore, she emphasized that “greed” is the main motive behind exploiting children, who typically receive very little pay for the work they perform. She explained that children are oblivious to occupational safety concerns, and thus won’t have any demands for a safer work environment.

The six-storey textile factory that collapsed almost two weeks ago during a storm in Alexandria left 26 people dead underneath the rubble. The victims’ bodies have since been pulled out by rescue workers.

Khattab cited the initiatives implemented by the Ministry of Trade to minimize unofficial employment, enforcing official employment that enjoys social and professional security. Khattab described these initiatives as major steps that will help eliminate child labor.

She said families have a pivotal role to play, explaining that the enormous economic, cultural and social pressures that exist nowadays — when coupled with the increasing number of children in low-income families — leave most children deprived of education and forced into work and/or marriage prematurely.

The new Child Law no. 126 of 2008, which was passed in June, “set a new system to provide children with protection and justice,” said Khattab. The law focuses on rehabilitation, reform, and integration.

There are currently various established committees that serve to protect children and to educate parents on how they can prevent their children from being involved in crimes. By taking the proper precautions, children may live in a safe and solid family environment that grants them their right to medical treatment and education.


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