Childbreaking Yards: Child Labour in the Ship Recycling Industry in Bangladesh

FIDH, YPSA, June 2008, 36 p.

, by Fédération Internationale des ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH)

The report is based on field research carried out in and around shipbreaking yards in Chittagong, as well as in Northern Bangladesh villages, where many child workers come from. With Childbreaking Yards, FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights ) and YPSA (Young Power in Social Action) draw for the first time a comprehensive description of child labour in Chittagong’s shipbreaking yards. It is estimated that about 25% of the workers on the yards are children. Through testimonies and pictures, the purpose of Childbreaking Yards is not only to denounce child labour but also to shed light on the socio-economic context that pushes children into such a hazardous activity.

Shipbreaking is a key industry in Bangladesh and a highly hazardous activity. It attracts extremely poor farmers and migrant workers, as working in the yards provides them with higher income than agricultural work. Accidents occur on a daily basis on the yards, leaving many workers severely injured and some dead. The health of the workers is also affected as a result of exposure to toxic substances contained in the ships and of the unsafe conditions in the yards.

* Read the report "Childbreaking Yards" (pdf)