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Togo: Tough to Survive

Togolese children stuck between hard labour and human trafficking

Aziagba Philomene’s small children sit in a circle on the ground as if playing in a sandbox. But these kids are crushing stones into gravel with hammers almost too big for their small hands… and they do this seven hours a day, with no hand or eye protection. Though Aziagba is aware of the hard and dangerous conditions, she must send her children to work to provide her family’s basic needs. Otherwise, the $10-$30 per year for schooling each of her six kids would be too much.

In the West African country of Togo, the Philomene family’s situation is far from unique. Some 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, and nearly a third of Togolese children must work to help support their families. With employment opportunities scarce, more than 300,000 Togolese children have been sent abroad or to distant cities on promises of better prospects. Most of these end up working for little or no money under conditions bordering on slavery, while many girls are forced into prostitution.

In this film, you’ll meet the Togolese parents of children who work locally so they can learn a trade and get an education, hoping they will eventually pull their families out of poverty.