Tajikistan has a population of approximately 7,627, 200 , and children aged 0 – 14 years account for 33.9% of the total population. The children of Tajikistan are largely affected by the labour migration that has faced the country in the recent past. The absence of adequate job opportunities compels citizens to migrate, mainly to Russia, for work. There are rural districts in Tajikistan from which virtually the entire male population has left to work abroad, leaving the women as breadwinners of their families.
Children are directly affected as they end up dropping out of schools and engaging in the worst forms of child labour. In some cases, they combine the 4-6 hours of education provided with hard and prolonged labour. Non-return of parents leads to children being sent to special institutions or exposing them to child protection risks.
Harmful traditional practices:
Cases of child marriage are reported in rural parts of Tajikistan . It is alarming that the legal age of marriage has been reduced to 17.The practice of religious unregistered marriages of young girls into polygamous arrangements is the main concern in rural parts of Tajikistan.
Children without appropriate care and children on the move:
Despite the government policy on de-institutionalisation, children continue to be enrolled into government-run institutions, a practice that has been around since Soviet times. These are used as an alternative for children who are orphans or whose parents (and community structures) believe they cannot provide adequate basic needs for their child. There are currently 84 government-run institutions housing about 8,000 children, approximately 2, 000 are girls.
There are approximately 9,600 street and working children in one of the 4 regions of Tajikistan, most of who are children of labour migrants.
Emergency situations and children:
Tajikistan is prone to natural disasters such as floods and mudslides. In 2010, 600 households were completely destroyed and many more rendered uninhabitable as a result of the floods. Save the Children estimates that over 10,000 people were affected by the floods in Kulyab city and surrounding villages.
Child labour, including bonded labour, continues to be a concern despite a favourable legal environment. With deteriorating living conditions, children are forced to work to support their families. Approximately 200,000 children aged 5 to 14 are involved in child labour, with 65,000 working with no remuneration. 10% of these children do not study.
The laws of Tajikistan do not prohibit corporal punishment. There is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in schools, in alternative care settings or in situations of employment. UNICEF statistics indicate that 78% of children face corporal punishment.
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