This Child Labor Risk Mitigation Tool was developed by the International Rescue Committee’s Child Protection team in Lebanon with the ongoing support of the United Nations Children’s Fund in Lebanon.
This risk mitigation tool would not have been possible without the input, effort, and support of the following people:
Sara Mabger – IRC Child Protection Coordinator
Riwa Maktabi – IRC Monitoring and Evaluation Officer
Hiba Guevara Ali – IRC Innovation Officer
Sara Sannouh – IRC Child Protection Street and Working Children Manager
Carlos Bohorquez – UNICEF Child Protection Specialist
Jackline Atwi – UNICEF Child Protection Officer
With special thanks to Patrick Sfeir, Marie Therese Saliba and Sunita Palekar Joergensen for their creative contributions and dedication which helped us bring these stories to life.
With gratitude to UNICEF which supported the realization of this tool.
With immense respect for the working children around us who drive us to work harder to put an end to child labor.
The little superheroes whose experiences were used as a basis to inspire these stories.
With child labor widespread in Lebanon, ministries, UN agencies, and non- governmental organizations are making concerted efforts to dedicate resources to working together to address the worst forms of child labor. In spite of the ongoing efforts, a considerable amount of time is still required to eradicate the complex problem of child labor in its worst forms.
Frontline workers from both governmental and non-governmental organizations are, on a daily basis, faced with complex and challenging cases of working children who no longer attend school and are continuously exposed to harm.
As thousands of children continue to work long hours under exploitative and harmful conditions, there is an immediate need to remove children from these extreme conditions and reduce the risks they are exposed to when this is not possible.
The stories in this risk mitigation tool are based on the experiences of children in Lebanon supported by IRC Child Protection staff who shared examples of the complex cases they support.
HOW TO USE THIS RISK MITIGATION TOOL
This tool is recommended for children aged 12 years and above. However the stories that this tool is based on were experienced by children as young as 5. This demonstrates the harsh reality that children of all ages are exposed to child labor in its worst forms. In addition we recognize that reaching working children requires extensive outreach, often at children’s places of work. Working children on the street, in mechanic shops, on construction sites, and on farms are often of different age groups and already in harm’s way. In light of this reality that frontline workers face to work with this target group, we would recommend a flexible approach with an end aim of reaching as many children as possible of all age groups.
For each story, children are presented with choices. The choices available reflect the reality that working children face on a daily basis. Each story includes prompting questions for the facilitator and closes with key messages that are transmitted in different ways throughout the comic.
The stories are meant to enable children to identify the risks they are exposed to, seek potential safer alternatives, and seek the support they need. The facilitator conducting the sessions should be prepared and equipped to support children to access case management services of the relevant agency and identify cases of children who are in need of immediate intervention.
This risk mitigation tool aims to reduce the level of risk that children are exposed to by supporting children to make choices in their day to day life in order to decrease the risks and keep them safer.
The risk mitigation tool has been organized in a way that the facilitator (a child protection professional):
1. reads the story to the children.
2.guides the discussion for each scenario using the included prompting questions.
3. presents the choices available to children encouraging discussion amongst children and the facilitator of the risks and potential consequences of each choice.
Each session ends with key messages that the facilitator can use to close the activity.
YOUR ‘SAFE PERSON, A TRUSTED ADULT’
Throughout the comic there are images and key messages indicating that children should speak to their ‘safe person, a trusted adult’. It’s important as a facilitator to introduce children to the concept of a ‘safe person, a trusted adult’ whom they could speak to if they are feeling sad, in danger, or in an emergency.
For many children, this person might be someone in their family. However this may not be the case for all children. The majority of working children will have supportive parents or caregivers who make them feel safe. It’s important to consider that for a number of children this task might be particularly difficult if they are separated from their family or may not have supportive circumstances at home, if their family is involved in the abuse. For these children, their ‘safe person, a trusted adult’ may be a case worker of an NGO or government body who is accessible and supportive of them.
For a number of children, their safe persons may be unconventional choices. For example: street children may meet people on the street such as shop owners who give them food and let them make emergency calls from their phone. While it is important to reinforce the message that children should not trust strangers, some of