As of today, Scotland has welcomed one fourth of the Syrian refugees previously settled in the UK. According to politician Ben Macpherson, “It's time for the UK Government to significantly step up its refugee resettlement efforts in the midst of what is possibly the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.” Over 1,800 refugees have arrived in Scotland since 2015, and Scotland plans to open its doors to other ethnicities escaping violence.
Closer to the epicenter of the crisis, Syrian refugees in Lebanon, which is home to 1.5 million Syrians, have begun to resort to the illegal practice of child labor. 13-year-old Abdullah picks cucumbers for 8 hours everyday of the weeks. He often receives less than $1 a day, well below the minimum wage. Lebanon, unlike its neighbors, does not have any established Syrian refugee camps; instead, Palestinian refugee camps, which charge $200 in rent monthly, have become a substitute. The UN predicts that $116 million is required to provide these families with a suitable living space and health care.
Abdullah has become the breadwinner of his family due to multiple injuries and deaths among his parents and older siblings, and he has joined the ranks of 42% of the young Syrian population in Lebanon that have left school for full-time employment. The UNICEF states that 280,000 children have willingly entered the labor force in exchange for a full belly and a sense of security. In addition to experiencing harsh labor conditions, working in the blistering heat, and using unsafe equipment, many refugees do not have the opportunity to properly recover from the emotional and mental trauma that they carried from their homeland.
Abdullah was only 9 years old when he witnessed the beheadings conducted by ISIS. The young boy stated that “I want to be a doctor or a teacher, but I feel like in my life I’m just going to pick oranges. I’m not going to get any further”.
Foote, Chris. "Scotland welcomes 25% of Syrian refugees settled in UK." STV News. STV, 24 July 2017. Web. 24 July 2017. <https://stv.tv/news/scotland/1394165-scotland-welcomes-25-of-refugees-settled-in-the-uk/>.
Khoury, Lisa. "Special report: 280,000 young Syrian refugees are being forced into child labor in Lebanon." Vox. N.p., 24 July 2017. Web. 24 July 2017. <https://www.vox.com/world/2017/7/24/15991466/syria-refugees-child-labor-lebanon>.