TOPSHOT – Thousands of migrants and refugees walk through the port of Piraeus after arriving from the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios on February 1, 2016. On average, more than 1,900 people have arrived each day this month on Greek islands on unseaworthy boats from Turkey, according to the UN, which put the total of new arrivals in January at more than 50,000. More than 31,000 people have been registered on Lesbos during that time, the UN added. / AFP / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)

When you go shopping for yourself, have you ever wondered where or who made that nice shirt or those pair of shoes you been wanting? The majority of the time, the items we purchase at retail stores usually comes from places overseas made by children that we refer to as refugees. It’s sad to imagine a world where children are being put to work for little to no pay living in unhealthy dangerous camps. Corporations usually do this to create mass productions of their product without having to pay their workers the right amount of money they deserve. Most of the time, these works are people young enough to be your own child or little brother and sister. Think twice before you purchase something that was imported from somewhere overseas.

Many refugees flee their country to escape the horrible living arrangements they face in their home country. Even still, they are forced to work in slave-like conditions where ever they flee too. “Lebanon has a population of just over 4 million people, a quarter of whom are Syrians who escaped the escalating civil crisis in their home country” (Nash 2016). Even when they get to a place where they think is safe, they are still being put to work and forced to live in camps. “According to a report by Freedom Fund, an antislavery activist group, refugee families are forced to live in tent communities—known as shawish– and undertake labor obligations”

Syrian internally displaced people walk in the Atme camp, along the Turkish border in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, on March 19, 2013. The conflict in Syria between rebel forces and pro-government troops has killed at least 70,000 people, and forced more than one million Syrians to seek refuge abroad. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

(Nash2016). This is the type of reality poor young children are forced to live in and pray for a better change.

These refugee camps are unhealthy, dangerous, and horrible way for anyone to be put through, especially children. They contain diseases and unhealthy water sources along with multiple other unhealthy methods that can be even worse than prison. “In fact, the literature widely documents the association between poor housing conditions, characterized by the presence of humidity/mold, indoor pollutants, infestation, and the absence of a source of heating on the one hand, and reported illnesses by household members, such as dizziness, headache, irritation of eyes and skin, upper respiratory tract infection and an increase in the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases” (Habib p.13). When you compare these living conditions to our prisons, you will see that it seems worse than some prisons out there. These people work hard for no pay and live in these dangerous conditions as if they did something to be punished yet they have done nothing to deserve it. Imagine your young loved ones being put through these conditions every day of their lives just so we can go out and buy the product we have no idea who is making it in the first place.

There are some of the refugees out there that are trying to make their way to the U.S. yet, that is difficult to accomplish. Oftentimes, the children have to come here alone and leave their families behind. The ones that do however make it out here may sometimes land in dangerous situations. “The investigation found that some of the children have ended up in dangerous situations. At least a dozen have been turned over to human traffickers, including six who were lured by smugglers to Mr. Portman’s state, where they were put to work illegally on an egg farm for no pay. One was 14 years old” (Dickerson 2018).  These children are only trying to find a better life through coming to the U.S. and sometimes still finding the same reality they’re running from. Finding happiness for these innocent people may sometimes seem impossible. “Children traveling alone surged across the southern border under Mr. Obama in 2014 when border agents apprehended 68,541 trying to enter the United States. About 41,000 have been apprehended in the current fiscal year, a 16 percent increase from the same period in 2017” (Dickerson 2018). Those are the numbers of real children coming onto our land hoping in search for a better future when that may not even be what they actually find. These are the ones slaving away making the majority of the clothing or products we purchase on the daily without realizing it. Any product you purchase from out of our country can have a real story to it and who’s hands they came from.

I chose the song “Prayer of the Refugee” by Rise Against because it is a perfect representation of the lifestyle of a refugee that only wishes for a better life for them and their family. Tim McEllrath (artist of Rise Against) sheds light for those poor individuals by singing this song as it came out of their own mouths and displayed the hardship of an everyday lifestyle of a refugee. This song had so much depth meaning to it and can move you more by the visuals the music video contains. Rise Against is a band that was formed in 1999 with songs that support many great organizations such as PETA, animal rights, and more. Their goal is to shed more light on many important situations in the world that we pay no attention too. Being so blind to many of these situations or just choosing to not pay attention is was most of us are guilty of and we need to start making a change in the way we live our daily lives. I chose this specific song out of all of their meaningful songs they have because of the simple fact that this crisis is happening to young children who deserve nothing but to be loved and cared for by the people that are taking full advantage of them. These children are no more different than the children in your own life. I just hope one day, these children and families will find the life they deserve and be able to live on with the fact the no one is trying to take advantage of them and use them to make a quick dollar.

Annotated Bibliography


Syrian Refugee Children in Lebanon Are Working in Slave-Like Conditions: Report. By:       Jenkins, Nash,, 4/12/2016


This article lays out briefly what the conditions of a Syrian Refugee under “forced work” with little to no pay. Jenkins explains how they are fleeing their home country and landing at Lebanon for slightly better living conditions.



Harboring illnesses: On the association between disease and living conditions in a Palestinian refugee camp: Report. By: Habib Rima R., Basma, Shiraz H., Yeretzian, Joumana S.  International Journal of Environmental Health Research. Apr2006, Vol. 16 Issue 2, p99-111. 13p. 5 Charts.


International Journal of Environmental Health Research sheds light on unhealthy living that refugee camps have to offer. Allows the reader to fully understand the hardship the youth of Palestinian have to go through on a daily basis. Gives full detail upon every aspect as well as charts of diseases.



An American Tune: Refugee Children in U.S. Public Schools: Report. By: Weddle, Daniel B. Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy. Summer2018, Vol. 27 Issue 3, p434-456. 23p.


This article displays the lives of refugee children coming to the U.S. to have the opportunity of a better life. To be able to have an education and a roof over their heads without having to be put through harsh times and slave work. Also shows the hardship they still have to deal with living in the U.S. as a refugee