The waif that returned

The boy stared at the rusted facade. Each beam, window pane and rusted tin sheets whispered to him of tales of the years past, of the days when they had seen the patter of little feet busily going about their work.

The boy remembered the suffocating darkness of the hearts of the man who had commanded the children and the darkness that surrounded him after twilight.

He had been rescued along with a few others but the men responsible had never been caught. He looked at the title of the school essay he was writing – “Child Labour” in bold letters.

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers.  Linking up here.

41 Replies to “The waif that returned”

  1. Interesting fact: Child labor laws don’t apply if you’re working for your family. Decades ago, I worked for the Child Protective Services hotline in a California county and got a call reporting children being made to wake up really early in the morning, bundle newspapers, and deliver them. It was quite a route and took a lot of time. Might have been the school calling because the kids were all quite tired during the day.

    However as long as the children are working in a family owned business, the family can make them labor, even to excess (though I imagine that’s some sort of limit).

    I once wrote a slightly related story called “The Girl from Svay Pak” about the child sex industry in Cambodia. Destitute parents will sell their virgin daughters into sex slavery but fortunately there are ministries there who are working to rescue those children and give them a safe place to stay.

    Horrible how humanity has come to devalue the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.

    1. Where was CPS when I needed them, then? Sorry, I have no fondness for them. They believed everybody but me about the abuse I suffered, including working delivering news at 0200-0700 and then going straight to school, no meal, repeating same after school along with mowing yards, cleaning houses, and whatever else Mum could sell me to do.

      1. In a text-only communication’s venue, I didn’t get the tone of being “snapped at,” so no worries, Jelli. You have a right to be angry and I’m sorry if I sounded insensitive.

  2. Dear Lavanya,

    I remember waiting tables when I was 8 and filling salt and pepper shakers when I was five. Of course my parents owned the restaurant. 😉 To me it was fun. Very different than forcing children to work in factories. Well written and thought provoking.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

  3. This reminds me of how “insolent” schoolchildren were forced to work in camps in Busan during the mid-late 1980s, right around the Olympics time. Quite a sad tale there, and quite an interesting tale here. Well done!

  4. I’ve read several good stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting.
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