Pubdate: Fri, 13 Aug 2004
Source: BusinessWorld (Philippines)
Copyright: 2004 BusinessWorld
Address: 1311 E. Rodriguez, Sr. Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City 1112
Phone: (632) 535-992
Fax: (632) 535-9926
Author: Beverly T. Natividad
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Recent child labor studies in several Metro Manila communities has
revealed that not only are more children now engaged in the trade of
illegal drugs, but their age ranges are also getting younger.

A study initiated by the International Labor Organization-International
Program for the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC), and conducted
by the department of sociology and anthropology of the Ateneo de
Manila University, shows that a "significant proportion of children
and the youth are engaged in the illicit trading, trafficking and
abuse of drugs."

The study covered several pilot communities in Metro Manila where
communities are characterized by congested housing and where irregular
and low-income sources abound.

In communities such as Tatalon (Quezon City), Paco-Pandacan (Manila),
and Pasay City, the study also noted high levels of unemployment and
underemployment, low levels of education, and inadequate access to
social services.

All these contribute to forcing children into working in the illegal
drug trade network.


According to the study, while friends and peers play a big part in the
recruitment of the children in drug sale and trafficking, the children
are mainly used as gophers either by their own parents or by other

"Younger children are usually used in delivering drugs because
authorities are not suspicious of them," according to the study.

This initiation to drug trade network will eventually lead the
children to drug use at an early age.

In a 1999-2000 assessment of the Tatalon and the Paco-Pandacan areas,
children start to be initiated into the use and trade of drugs at
15-17 years old.

The latest study in the same areas show however that the children were
initiated to drugs like shabu from 12 to 15 years old.

The ILO-IPEC conducted the study between 2002-2004 in response to the
problems of children involved in illegal drug sale and

A participatory action-oriented research project was done in Thailand
and the Philippines in 2002 following findings in the 1990s that a
significant portion of children are getting involved in the trade of
illegal drugs and its abusive use in rural and urban areas of
Southeast Asia. 
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