Two Aweil boys escape ‘forced labor’ in Darfur

Two children from Northern Bahr el Ghazal State have returned home several months after their parents gave them up for forced labor in Western Darfur.

The boys, whose names have been withheld, say their parents offered them to Sudanese cattle keepers in April to look after Reizegat cattle.

In exchange for the labor, each boy’s parent would be given a bull calf after every six months.

Due to the poor living conditions their handlers had subjected them to, they escaped.

The minors, aged 11 and 14, arrived in Aweil North on Tuesday, days after they escaped from their bosses in Western Darfur.

“When the cattle got lost, the owners would prevent me from entering the house and later assault me,” said Chol (not real name), 14.

“It was a bad life. I don’t want other children to go through the same situation.”

For 11-year-old Lual (not real name), his father handed him over to the Reizegat cattle keepers because he had no means to keep him in school.

“ I had told my father to enroll me in school, but he told me that there was no money,” he recalled.

Child labor is the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives them of their childhood.

Victims of child labor usually suffer from depression and anxiety, pushing them to destructive habits like smoking and alcoholism.

Commenting on the matter, the co-chairperson of Dinka Malual and Rezigat peace committee in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State condemned the unlawful agreement between the parents and Reizegat cattle keepers.

Anguei Noon Atak, who received the children, said the parents will soon be held accountable for the crimes against their own children:

“We will tell the government to investigate the crimes and take to the matter to court because such parents are against our progress,” Noon stated.