Feedback
News
gallery

Children Toil to Feed Myanmar’s Booming Economy

One in five children between the ages of 10 and 17 in Myanmar go to work instead of school, a recent census report revealed.

A child uses a fishing net as he and others work at a fish farm in Htantapin, outside Yangon in Myanmar, on Feb. 18, 2016. 

The opening up of the Myanmar economy in 2011 triggered a spike in demand for labor. Many children now work in fish farming and processing.

At Yangon's San Pya fish market, the country's largest, children as young as nine are employed to clean and process fish. They also unload boats and trucks during 12-hour overnight shifts.

 

SOE ZEYA TUN / Reuters

A boy works at a fish farm in Htantapin township near Yangon on Feb. 18.

SOE ZEYA TUN / Reuters

Workers harvest fish at a farm on Feb. 18.

The National League for Democracy (NLD), the party led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, has said tackling child labor was one of its main goals. The NDL’s landslide victory in November elections ushered in Myanmar’s first civilian government in 54 years.

SOE ZEYA TUN / Reuters

Children unload fish from a boat at San Pya fish market on Feb. 16.

SOE ZEYA TUN / Reuters

Workers hold on to a net as they harvest fish in Htantapin on Feb. 18.

SOE ZEYA TUN / Reuters

Kyaw Khine Soe, a 16-year-old worker, sits on a boat at Yangon's San Pya fish market on Feb. 16.

SOE ZEYA TUN / Reuters

Workers process fish at a seafood exporting factory in Hlaingthaya Industrial Zone, outside Yangon on Feb. 19.

SOE ZEYA TUN / Reuters

A boy chops fish at a factory on Feb. 19.

The law in Myanmar bars children under the age of 13 from working in shops or factories, and stipulates that teenagers aged 13-15 should not work more than four hours a day or at night.

SOE ZEYA TUN / Reuters

Children collect fish from the floor at a factory on Feb. 19.

SOE ZEYA TUN / Reuters

A worker uses his phone at a market on Feb. 15.

SOE ZEYA TUN / Reuters

Kyaw Khine Soe, 16, rests on a dock at the end of his shift at San Pya fish market on Feb. 16.

SOE ZEYA TUN / Reuters

Kyaw Khine Soe, (R), sits at home with his family on Feb. 17.

SOE ZEYA TUN / Reuters

A vendor holds his baby while waiting for a bus after delivering fish to San Pya market on Feb.15.

SOE ZEYA TUN / Reuters