Listen to Us: The World's Working Children


96 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88899-291-2
DDC j331.3'1





Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


Nirmala is a 10-year-old girl who makes carpets 16 hours a day in a
factory in Nepal. Naftal is a 12-year-old boy who is serving against his
will in a rebel army in Mozambique. Christine is a 16-year-old runaway
teenager who sells her body for money and shelter in Canada. Iqbal was a
12-year-old boy who was chained to a loom from the age of 4. When he
escaped after eight years of forced labor, he was murdered for telling
the world about his life as a child weaver in Pakistan.

These are just a few of the horrendous real-life stories revealed by
former CUSO and UNICEF development worker Jane Springer, who served in
African and South Asian developing countries for 10 years. Her book
combines firsthand observations of child workers around the world with
an examination of the culpability of various governments, multinational
companies, and relief organizations.

In nine comprehensive chapters, Springer explains how powerful
multinational companies, usually with the tacit approval of politicians
from both developing and developed countries, make enormous profits
through forced child labor. The text is well supported by photographs
and illustrations. The last chapter explains how young people can oppose
this huge and growing form of human exploitation.

Listen to Us is an important and disturbing book that should be part of
every Canadian school library. Highly recommended.


Springer, Jane., “Listen to Us: The World's Working Children,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 20, 2024,