Forced Labour and Access to Education of Rohingya Refugee Children in Bangladesh: Beyond a Humanitarian Crisis

Journal of Modern Slavery 6 (3):19-33 (2021)
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Abstract
Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh are forced into labour both inside and outside the camps for a wide range of reasons. This article examines this situation in relation to the access to education for those children living in the camps in Cox’s Bazar. Being informed by several perspectives concerning child labour and access to schooling in developing country contexts, this research work has adopted a qualitative approach to study various factors working behind this pressing issue. After collecting data by means of qualitative methods, including non-participant observations and semi-structured interviews, the researcher has analyzed the findings with these informed perspectives. Results show that lack of formal identity, limited access to the formal labour market, absence of social sanctions against child employment, lack of aspirations, household composition, and substandard living conditions are some of the key factors that drive children to engage in various forms of labour, especially outside the camps. They often work in small workshops as labourers and in the host community households as domestic workers. Undocumented children are also reported to become victims of bonded labour, sex trade, and trafficking in the region. The author argues that a lack of formal education has compounded this issue into a severe humanitarian crisis which calls for immediate support and actions from local and international agencies.
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Archival date: 2021-08-17
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