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Child Labour in Our World
Beirut
By b.yaacoub
11 Jun 2015

It may sound like old news to some, but one of the scary realities of our world is that some of the biggest problems facing humanity occur without explosions, protests, or big news headlines. Often, those who suffer the most suffer in silence, far away from the eyes of news cameras and the international community.

Child Labour is one of those problems that passes largely unnoticed. All over the world, across cultural, social, and religious divides, child labour persists. Sometimes it occurs as the simple act of a well-intended parent taking their child to work in the farm fields by their side. Other times, it is malicious factory owners using children as cheap labour in their factory, where they are abused and underpaid.

What makes the issue more complicated is that child labour can occur in front of our eyes, without us noticing. Sometimes understanding child labour is understanding what is not visible to us. It is understanding that a working child is not attending school, that a working child is malnourished, and that a working child is physically and psychologically abused. The difference between a child helping their mother in the family shop and child exploitation could be the simple question of whether or not the child’s work is preventing them from attending school. The line can sometimes be fine and other times glaring.

At Transterra Media, our contributors have documented child labour around the world for years, from the brick factories of Bangladesh, to the garbage piles of Cambodia, and the car repair shops of Syria. Our contributors have shed a small amount of light on a massive issue that the world is still trying to address.

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Collapsing Houses in Bangladesh
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
16 Apr 2015

ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

A two story house made of bamboo and tin collapsed at Hjipara Jheel, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, on April 15, 2015 at 3:30 PM (local time). There were 14 rooms on each floor, and each room was inhabited by an entire family. The rooms were rented for BDT.3, 500 ($44) per month.

The location of the building on a polluted, swampy wetland meant that it was very difficult for people inside the building to survive, as the rubble from the building pushed into the water.

Casualty rates are currently 12 dead and 100 missing.

Locals claim that the main reason of the collapse was lack of a proper foundation. Add to this the fact that the building owner built an additional floor on the building 5 months ago with the aim of increasing profits. Survivors of the collapse said the building began vibrating and shaking in bizarre ways after the second floor was added.

The collapse highlights the problem of shoddy housing in Bangladesh’s heavily impoverished areas. There was no government oversight or intervention to monitor and prevent the construction and habitation of such a poorly constructed building.  The collapse spurred protests from the Bangladesh Communist Party calling on the government to step up regulations on building safety and exploitation of the poor. 

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Building Collapse 01
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

The Bangladesh Communist Party holds a protest after the housing collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 16 April 2015.

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Building Collapse 02
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Relatives of people missing in the house collapse wait at Hajipara Jheel, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 16 April 2015.

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Building Collapse 03
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Samia and her mom shortly after being rescued safely from the wreckage of the housing complex April 16, 2015.

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Building Collapse 04
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

A survivor of the housing collapse in his new house. April 16, 2015.

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Building Collapse 05
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

A man still waiting for his missing family members at a temporary house near the collapsed building in Hajipara Jheel, Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 16, 2015.

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Building Collapse 06
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

A picture floats in the swampy wreckage of the collapsed housing complex April 16, 2015.

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Building Collapse 07
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

A man waits for his missing family members at a temporary house near the collapse housing complex in Hajipara Jheel, Dhaka, Bangladesh. April 16, 2015.

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Building Collapse 08
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Firefighters try to rescue the missing people from the collapsed, two story house inHajipara Jheel, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The collapse of the house, which was built on swampy ground killed 12 people and more than 100 people are still missing.

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Building Collapse 09
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Firefighters try to rescue the missing people from the collapsed, two story house inHajipara Jheel, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The collapse of the house, which was built on swampy ground killed 12 people and more than 100 people are still missing.

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Building Collapse 10
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

A remaining tin shed over the Hajipara Jheel, Dhaka, Bangladesh, after the collapse of a two storied tin and bamboo housing structure.

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Building Collapse 11
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Firefighters try to rescue the missing people from the collapsed, two story house inHajipara Jheel, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The collapse of the house, which was built on swampy ground killed 12 people and more than 100 people are still missing.

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Building Collapse 12
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Najrul Islam waits at a temporary shelter for missing family members still trapped inside the collapsed housing structure.

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Building Collapse 13
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

4 year Samia girl was rescued from the rubble of the collapsed housing complex.

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Building Collapse 14
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

A man waits for his missing family members after the collapse of two storied tin-shed house in Hajipara Jheel, Dhaka, Bangladesh, on April 16, 2015.

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Building Collapse 15
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Families gather goods salvaged from the wreckage of the building complex at a temporary shelter.

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Building Collapse 16
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Two women wait at a temporary shelter for their family members still trapped in the wreckage of the collapsed house.

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Building Collapse 17
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Survivors living in a temporary shelter after the house collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 16, 2015.

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Building Collapse 18
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Shefali Begum wails as she mourns the loss of her young son Saiful, who was killed in the housing collapse.

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Building Collapse 19
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

A man is showing his stitched hand after he was injured in the housing collapse.

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Building Collapse 20
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Sisters Rubina & Asha lost everything in the bulding collapse. Now they wonder how they will start all over again.

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Building Collapse 21
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Remaining tin sheds over the Hajipara Jheel, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 16 April 2015 after the collapse of two storied tin and bamboo housing structure.

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Building Collapse 22
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Survivors of the building collapse take refuge in makeshift shelters as the rescue and salvage mission continues.

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Building Collapse 23
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Khalil (L) and Arif (R) in disbelief after the death of Saiful, a young boy in their family.

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Building Collapse 24
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

A rescued goat stands on some bricks after being salvaged from the wreckage of the collapsed housing project.

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Building Collapse 25
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
15 Apr 2015

Firefighters try to rescue the missing people from the collapsed, two story house inHajipara Jheel, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The collapse of the house, which was built on swampy ground killed 12 people and more than 100 people are still missing.

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Domestic Workers Face 'Modern Slavery...
Hong Kong
By Miguel Candela
01 Mar 2015

320,000 migrant women are exposed to all kinds of physical and psychological abuse in the domestic service sector of Hong Kong. This story is a testimony of their experiences and struggles.

After being repeatedly abused and realizing that her situation would not improve, in a desperate attempt, Kamsiah ran away from her employer's house without money or documentation. Subsequently she was accused of stealing her employer's wallet which was said to contain around 900 US Dollars. Unfortunately, false accusations are a common practice to pressure migrant workers and avoid paying the wages owed to them. Barefooted, without money nor documentation, she sought refuge in a 24-hour fast food restaurant and waited until another compatriot helped her and took her to a shelter.

Esther C. Bangkawayan is the director of Bethune House shelter, where foreign domestic helpers who suffer abuse find shelter, food, and legal advice. They now house about a dozen women in trouble, but at times they even have to squeeze around 20 people in the small house nestled beside a church in Kowloon. A domestic helper herself, Esther is campaigning the government to scrap two rules she deems unfair: one which forbids employees from changing their employers more than three times a year, and another one which doesn’t allow them from changing to work at another sector of the economy.

42 year old filipino domestic helper Grace signed a misleading labour contract to work in Hong Kong but she instead ended up in Dalian, a northeast Chinese city 1,979 km far from Hong Kong. After confronting her employer about the situation, Grace was put into a return flight to Hong Kong without her pending salary and with only 200 RMB in her wallet. Grace has made now a formal complaint against the recruitment agency which made her labour contract. However, she is not very optimistic regarding her chances of recovering the debt of 40,000 pesos she currently has in the Philippines.

Eni Lestari, Indonesian, is the spokesperson for the Justice for Erwiana Committee. A domestic helper herself, she hopes to get justice for one of her compatriots, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, who came to Hong Kong seeking for a better life and future but instead found a form of modern slavery. Erwiana’€™s employers hit her so severely that her brain has sustained irreversible injuries. As a result, she is unable to walk properly and has blurred vision. Her employer punched Erwiana so violently that her teeth cracked. She was sent to Indonesia with her body full of bruises and 8 US dollars in her pocket. Outraged immigrants like Lestari demand now justice and prison for her attackers. The Court has already declared them guilty and sentence is pending.

On Sundays thousands of Indonesian women gather in the streets and public spaces around Hong Kong to take advantage of their only day off. Most take their own food and an umbrella and talk to their friends all day long.

“€œWe barely have any money, so we have to take our lunch from our employer's house and sit in any public space that we can so we can enjoy our leisure time with our friends,”€ said Kamsiah.

To enjoy their free time and to get to know other immigrant workers in Hong Kong, immigrant groups organize activities for the women, such as beauty contests and self-defense classes in Victoria Park.  Persaudaraan Setia Hati Terate Fight Club teaches women to protect themselves from abusive employers.

Not only helping the women get away from the world of domestic work for the little time they have off or boosting their ability to defend themselves, such activities are the only social contact many have; and friends made during Sundays can be of great importance when difficulties arise.

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

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Mining the inferno- india's 100-year-...
Jharia, Jharkhand
By adrian
23 Nov 2014

Smoke comes out of a drain along the main road in Jharia, hinting at the alarming levels of underground fires in area. A few years ago, fires damaged the Jharia railway station, leading to its eventual closure.

Activists claim that the mining company in charge of the coal operations are allowing the fires to persist. The company is said to do this because the fires force residents off of their land for safety reasons, thus opening more prospective areas for mining.

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Mining the inferno- india's 100-year-...
Jharia, Jharkhand
By adrian
23 Nov 2014

Miners push around 350 kilograms of on a bicycle up a hillside.

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Mining the inferno- india's 100-year-...
Jharia, Jharkhand
By adrian
23 Nov 2014

A young girl miner observes her colleagues. Many local children are forced to work pilfering coal from state-owned mines in the area.

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Mining the inferno- india's 100-year-...
Jharia, Jharkhand
By adrian
23 Nov 2014

A miner takes a break overlooking the state-run open pit coal mine in Jharia. Miners have to manually carry large loads of coal from the bottom of the mine to the top, where it is delivered for processing.

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Mining the inferno- india's 100-year-...
Jharia, Jharkhand
By adrian
23 Nov 2014

A boy carrying a heavy load of coal over his head in Jharia. Many local children are forced to work pilfering coal from state-owned mines in the area.

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Mining the inferno- india's 100-year-...
Jharia, Jharkhand
By adrian
23 Nov 2014

Miners have to manually carry large loads of coal from the bottom of the mine to the top, where it is delivered for processing.

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Mining the inferno- india's 100-year-...
Jharia, Jharkhand
By adrian
23 Nov 2014

A female miner balances raw coal stones on her head. The work is grueling and harmful to the health of the workers.

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Mining the inferno- india's 100-year-...
Jharia, Jharkhand
By adrian
23 Nov 2014

Smoke from underground fires rise in the state-run open pit mine near Jharia.

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Mining the inferno- india's 100-year-...
Jharia, Jharkhand
By adrian
23 Nov 2014

Miners have to manually carry large loads of coal from the bottom of the mine to the top, where it is delivered for processing.

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Mining the Inferno: India's 100 Year ...
Jharia
By Sanjay Pandey
14 Nov 2014

Roughly 700,000 people live immediately above a series of underground fires that have been smoldering in the town of Jharia for a century, come next year. The government of India is, quite literally, playing with fire.

“State-run coal firm BCCL is deliberately stoking the fire so that they can have more and more of the area declared unsafe to live in and get a broader area in which to continue its mining operations,” says activist Ashok Agarwal of Jharia Coalfield Bachao Samiti, an organization formed by locals to fight the government’s dictatorial policies.

The area is rich in coal and, to cut costs, much of the mining in the area is done by opencast methods. Opencast mining is more profitable than deep mining since the costs of excavation are low and productivity is significantly higher. In Jharia, some 270km from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand province, coal is mined everywhere. People armed with shovels dig their way into rat-hole mines near villages and dwellings, roads and even railway tracks.

Bokalpari is one of the many areas affected by the perennial fires in Jharia: no less than 67 have been raging in the belly of the earth. Mining in the area is a source of revenue and livelihood. But with the advent of modern machines, a majority of the manual workforce has become redundant. For villagers like Shamim Khan, mining has become more of a curse. Shamim used to work as driver’s assistant, but is currently unemployed.  

“I haven’t had a job for around 5 years now," he said. "When my forefathers came here decades ago hoping to earn a good living, they left their land and property behind in Bihar. Now, we cannot even go and reclaim that land.”

Coal-seam fires annually spew around 1.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, making India the fourth biggest producer of greenhouse gas of the world. In Jharia, mining started back in 1896. After the nationalization of all coalmines in 1971, many were handed over to the state-owned Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL). But the desire to produce cheaper and cheaper coal prompted BCCL to depart from the standard practice of underground or tunnel mining in 1974.

“Coal-seam fires are nothing new in the coal belt. But they became a threat after BCCL opened up the mines,” says Agarwal.

The underground fires in Jharia will be a century old next year, but the government seems to be doing little to douse the flames.

“The BCCL is digging the fire out as part of the master plan,” says T K Lahiri, a managing director of BCCL.

Though mining companies are officially meant to fill abandoned mines with sand, anyone can see that the pits are left unattended. According to local residents, the leftover coal in these pits then comes into contact with oxygen and catches fire. The government’s plan of relocating residents of fire-affected areas has not yet materialized due to resistance from the people and officials’ half-hearted approach to the issue. So far, around 1100 families out of 2500 have been relocated to a township in Belgaria. Those who have moved to the township complain of a lack of basic amenities and job opportunities. This has prompted many to return to their fire-ravaged villages.

“Since there is no source of employment, I have to travel 13km on foot to reach Bokapahari. I know people here so it is easier for me to get a job,” says Shamim, 45, whose two sons have migrated to Delhi where they work as daily wage laborers.

As for those who decided to stay on, a different kind of social problem has emerged. Now, boys and girls living in fire-affected parts of Jharia find it difficult to find a match for themselves. Akhtari Bano, 75, has three marriageable sons and two daughters, but is not able to find anyone suitable for them.  

“It is not that the proposals don’t come at all. But when people come and see that we’re sitting on the lap of a burning fire and that smoke is always emanating from our houses, they run away,” she says. “The government might be having fun playing with fire. But why play with our lives?”

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Farah: A Syrian Prostitute in Lebanon
Beirut
By ashgallagher
23 Jul 2014

June 2014
Hazmieh, Beirut, Lebanon

Farah is young Syrian refugee woman in Lebanon who has turned to prostitution to survive. With her father too sick to work and her brother chronically injured by a bomb in Damascus, she is the last person in her family able to make ends meet.

Currently, Syrian refugees make up 1/3 of Lebanon's population. With little to no support infrastructure in place, many refugees are forced to take desperate measures to make ends meet. Among some of the last ditch options is prostitution. According to Lebanese authorities, %73 of prostitutes in Lebanon are Syrian. Prostitutes either work on the streets, or, like Farah, they work in so called "Super Night Clubs", which are brothels masquerading as night clubs.

TRANSCRIPT FOR NATSOT PKG:

OPENING SHOTS - BEAUTY SHOT OVER HAZMIEH,
STREET SCENE
CONSTRUCTION AREA

DIP TO BLACK

OPEN SOT / LIPS ONCAM. My name is Farah, I am from Syria.

VO OF FARAH/WALKING - OVERLAP TO ONCAM,
- FARAH (FONT: SYRIAN PROSTITUTE) : I tried to work in a normal shop, but I found this is the best way to meet my expenses.

VO OF NIGHT LIFE / HAZMIEH, JOUNYEIH SCENES
BUTT TO - I wake up around 11 and take a shower. I only get 2 hours a day to myself when I start moving and I go where I'm to be working and the customers start coming, some you know, some you don't, it's night life.

VO/NATSOUND OF UNDERCOVER CLUB -
FIXER / SOT: Where are all the hot girls?
BOUNCER: if you want hot girls, go downstairs
VO FOLLOWS DOWN STAIRS W/ CREEPY MUSIC.

DIP TO BLACK

VO OPEN/SHOW HASSAN, VO, AT THE BAR, INTRO:
--HASSAN SOT (FONT: SUPER NIGHT CLUB MANAGER) - They go up to the dance floor and the customers can see them and pick out which one they want to take for the night. BUTT TO / Syrians are out on the streets, in places that are illegal, Hazmieh, everywhere, in Lebanon, they are affecting the businesses, they don't have a place to rent or anything, We're not giving them what they deserve. BUTT TO/ If they didn't need the money, they would come here.

BREATHE VO OF THE SUPER NIGHT CLUB WALK THROUGH, WITH A GIRL CHATTING 3-4 SECONDS

[[VO - LET BREATH/SCENES, CLOSE UPS OF HER FIGURE, NIGHT LIFE VO]] SOT: Farah: Maybe they will let me leave, at the same time, maybe later, they will threaten me or do something [violent] to me

butt to SOT FARAH: It is very hard, I don't even like this.
BUTT TO - It will affect me a lot because in this society, wether Lebanese or Syrian, it affects the girl
BUTT TO -
If someone met me and he knows, what they would say about me, they wouldn't take me.

VO/NATS OF OFFICER JOSEPH MOUSALIM / ONCAM / DISPERSE WORKING VO / ON CAM / DAYSIDE ST. SCENES
SOT: Officer Joseph. Mousalim - FONT: Public relations Internal security forces.
Mostly the super night clubs are for foreigners even if there is a few Syrians there, but for the Syrian women, there is either the man comes to their homes or they are referred to someone by the man.
(butt to) SOT: OJM - In terms for human trafficking 73% of the total arrested are Syrians.

[VO OF FARAH / ON CAM, THEN VO OF HER DOING OTHER THINGS, SMOKING WALKING,]] SOT: FARAH, . : In the last year, many things have changed in my life esp when my brother lost his hand and no hospital would accept him, my father got sick, that's what I do these things, especially when my brother had to have surgery and a ligament transplant. (butt to) I have to take responsibility because I am the eldest, my brother are too young and I cannot make them go to work, they still go to school, that's why

DIP TO BLACK/DISSOLVE.

[ON CAM/MOUTH TALKING]] SOT: FARAH: I blame no one, but I wish I was born a boy, so there would be someone older than me to take responsibility. VO OUT OF FARAH WALKING, FADE OUT