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Bangladeshi Shipbreakers

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In Bangladesh, 30,000 workers—many of them children just 10 to 13 years old—break apart huge decommissioned tanker ships, 650 to 1,000 feet long and 20 stories high, which are run up onto the beaches of Bangladesh.  The shipbreakers are forced to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for wages of just 22 to 32 cents an hour, doing one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.  Workers are injured and maimed every day, and on average a worker is killed every three weeks.  Worker lack even the most minimal safety protections.  Child workers use hammers to break apart asbestos—there is an average of 15,000 pounds of asbestos on each ship—which they carry out and dump on the beach.  On Saturday, September 5, two workers were burned to death and three were critically injured when a gas tank on a South Korean ship they were dismantling exploded.

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