Question: Are Children Engaged in Child Labour More Exposed to HIV? If yes, how? And if not, why not?
Yes. Children who work as house girls can be raped by the their employers who are suffering from HIV. As we know, Child Labour is the act of employing children or forcing them out of school to do a particular job. Children working in the tea plantation can get HIV from their employers.
Some working in the Khat (a local Kenyan drug that is chewed to acheive a chemical high) plantation may get some drugs and engage themselves in sexual immorality that will lead them to contact HIV easily. Others working on the beaches may start prostitution and through that act, may contract Aids. Children working in the quarries can be forced to have sex so that they can be given food, shelter and clothing. In this process, they may get HIV. Also, Children engaged in drug trafficking may get HIV by sharing sharp objects.
Some children are forced to take food to the bedrooms for their employers, but they are not aware that the employer has a plan to rape them. Children engaged in Child Labour are likely to be drug abusers so that they can have no stress. When they take drugs, they sleep anywhere without caring. When they are asleep, rapists may come and rape them.
Another way that children engaged in child labour contract HIV is by sharing sharp objects like knives, razors, injections and others. Many times, child labour is caused by the death of parents who die of HIV. Children engaged in Child Labour are taken as if they are not part of the world so they can be treated in any way.
Girls employed as house helps are forced to become the employers’ wife after the death of his wife. In this way, the man might be positive and pass the disease to the girl. Boys working as drug traffickers are forced to take drugs and be sodomised.
Others working as miners may be injured by the tools and lose a lot of blood. When they are taken to hospital, they get donation of blood having the virus. Some boys are forced to sleep with their employer’s who might be suffering from HIV. Children working on the farms may be raped on the path which they use.
Chilren engaged in Child Labour do not have security and this may lead them to fornication. Also, they are not taught about the effect of sex. It is true to say that children engaged in child labour are more exposed to contacting HIV.
Note: the above essay was written by a child at our Child Rights Club competition held at Kisiwa Primary School on 21st November. The essay has been corrected for any spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, but the substance is exactly as it was written.