Case 1: The Yema Vendor in Olongapo
When I was still living and working in Olongapo, there was this young boy who would approach people to sell sweets. The boy was about 8-10 years old at that time, neat and goodlooking. Out of fondness, my friend and I would buy a pack or two of his yema candies. The yema candies did not taste good but whenever that boy would pass by us, my friend and I would call him to buy some sweets. My friend had a loving heart for struggling streetkids and buying goods from them would encourage them to be productive instead of playing cara y cruz. I felt weird everytime I saw that young boy still out at 9PM. He should be sleeping at home instead of selling yema candies. What if a pedophile abduct him?
Case 2: The Paputok Maker in Bocaue
I am no fan of firecrackers. It’s just a waste of money! Buying firecrackers for New Year’s Eve celebration requires a lot of justification on my husband’s part. Aside from being risky, my lungs get tortured from the firecrackers’ toxic fumes. I don’t get it why parents let their kids get employed on a firecracker factory when there are other options like being a helper at a bakery. Worse, the owners of this kind of business deliberately hire children to cut on labor cost. How do they train those kids to be careful on material handling? Heck, you don’t give risky job to untrained and uncapable operators.
Case 3: Child Prostitution
Prostitution is an age-old profession and some prostitutes just accepted the fact that this is their profession but to force children into prostitution is another thing. What is more heart-breaking is to know that in some cases, it is their parents who peddle them into the flesh trade. It is sickening to imagine how a 20, 30, 40 and even 50 and up something man could stomach having sex with a child as young as six years old! A pimp approached my friend and offered his ward. The girl was between 9-12 years old with frail body but with a naughty smile. The girl was made to believe that prostitution was just their way of life and having sex with strangers for a fee was okay so that she could help her family.
Different cases of child labor but same bottomline: children are meant to enjoy their youth and parents must provide for their kids and not the other way around. That is why I salute parents who have the tenacity to send their kids to school no matter how financially hard up they are.