Myanmar's unregulated labour market is rife with child workers struggling to support their poor families. Julie Noce reports.
Tun Min slides his boots on every morning and heads to work in the outskirts of Yangon. The 16-year-old Burmese teen is the sole bread winner for his family and earns about eight dollars a day delivering fish to the market. He's been doing this since he was 12, when he had to drop out of school because his mother became ill. I want to become a trader in the fish market he says. I need money to start my business, then I can earn even more money. The demand for labour has risen drastically since the Myanmar economy opened up five years ago. Here about one-in-five children aged 10-17 go to work instead of school, despite laws that curb child labour. Michael Slingsby from the United Nations Development Programme said there's a fine line between protecting children and the demand for economic development. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR TECHNICAL ADVISER TO UNDP'S URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING BUREAU FOR ASIA, MICHAEL SLINGSBY, SAYING: "I think it should be a priority area but needs to be combined with positive policies. If you try to ban child labour, there's a danger that you drive it underground and people (will) still continue to work very young, but do it in a less open way." Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party which took power this month, said tackling child labour was one of the party's goals.