World Day against Child Labour is celebrated on 8 June and figures have just been released to show that in Rome there are at least 1,134 child labourers under the age of 15 who are being deprived of the right to education and play.
The survey, conducted by l' Istituto di Richerca
Economiche e Sociale (IRES) and the Italian trades union organisation CGIL, found that, particularly on the outskirts of the city, there are children who are sent out to beg, others who are being used as unpaid "assistants" to their parents who may be plumbers, electricians or building workers, and some who are being made responsible for domestic duties at home while their parents are out at work. These children are not being sent to school.
Half of these "workers" are the children of Romanian immigrants and the others are mainly Italian and Chinese. Anna Teselli, who is responsible for the report, says that the numbers of children being forced to work and deprived of an education is probably much higher than shown in the research, because only children of immigrants who are legally registered in Italy were surveyed. If all the illegal immigrants were taken into consideration the figures would be much higher.