Children of the Jermals

Brutal child labour in the Malacca Straits

Children of the Jermals From the traditional fishing platforms, or "jermals", off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, highly-prized salted anchovies are produced that are exported throughout the whole of the Far East. But it's also the scene of the most brutal form of child labour.
For the most part they are badly treated, forced to work around the clock with no guarantee of payment, and no way of escape. Most of the boys on the jermals are underage, subjected to backbreaking work for a wage of less than $20 a month. At high tide, they work up to 20 hours a day, resting for only a few minutes every hour. At the mercy of the elements in the middle of the ocean far from their homes and families, this is no life for young children.

Produced by SBS Australia

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