For his first article as a young reporter, Hans-Raphaël focuses on two especially important themes: forced child labor and discrimination against albino children.
In Bukavu, using children for the worst types of jobs has become standard practice, especially on construction sites and in mining quarries. A Bukavian child, Séraphin*, lost his life doing this kind of work. It was during the school year.
Séraphin was 16 years old and working on a construction site with other children. This child had a distinctive feature: he was albino. The site manager was a traditional man who thought that albinos were mystical. He claimed that albinos were a source of money; he targeted Séraphin.
One day when Séraphin was working with his friends like usual, the manager called on him personally and asked the others to leave. Fifteen minutes later, his friends returned to their post to wait for him so they could walk home together. When they arrived, they found Séraphin dead. His friends told their parents and the police. The police took charge of the situation and were forced to put the manager in prison for this crime.
This tragic event pushed us, along with the Children’s Parliament, to become invested in the plight of exploited children and the discrimination that sometimes exists against albino children.
No matter the color of their skin, we believe that no child should be forced to perform work that is dangerous or threatens their physical safety.
The government as well as parents must protect children against all forms of work that put them in danger, whether or not they are albino.
* Names have been changed.
Check out one of our best articles about the issue of albinism: All children have the same rights, whether they are black, white, blue or green.
Also: learn more about the issue of child exploitation
Photo 1: UNICEF RDC 2011 Olivier Asselin
Photo 2 : Patricia Willocq
Translated from French by Gail Somers.