Today is World Day against Child Labor. Child labor refers to the exploitation of children, mainly in underdeveloped nations, while robbing them of their youth and access to education due to their poverty.
On June 13, 2021, in the address of Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis warned about child labor at St. Peter’s Square, saying, “It is not possible to close our eyes to the exploitation of children, deprived of the right to play, to study and to dream.”
Child labor has existed in many ways throughout history. Youngsters working like adults have been documented from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution when children used to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Western nations required more and more labor to maintain their rapidly industrialized economies, and the best source accessible to them as youngsters was children.
In comparison to earlier times, when a single man of the home could feed a family, the industrial revolution's economic downturn wreaked havoc on the common man and his family.
Minors and women were forced to work in factories to earn enough money to maintain their existence, and this exploitation of children as a source of cheap labor has continued ever since.
According to nationaltoday.com, Africa is the world’s first position for child labor and one in every five children is working. Asia-Pacific belt is the second with 7% of child labor.
Child labor is a hot issue at the United Nations and other international organizations and serious efforts have been made to prevent child labor. However, over 160 million children are still involved in child labor. More efforts are needed to end it from its roots.
Every year on June 12, Child Labor Day or World Day Against Child Labor is commemorated. The International Labor Organization (ILO) declared the day in 2002 as an international day to raise awareness about child labor and the importance of taking steps to prevent it.
Since 2002, Child Labor Day or World Day Against Child Labor has been an annual occurrence where countries and international organizations come together to make efforts against child labor.
Apart from raising awareness and engineering action, more than half of these children are exposed to the worst form of child labor so finding a way to end child labor from its source. Human trafficking that leads to forced prostitution is a dangerous and unlawful activity.
Ways of the observation of Child Labor Day
An awareness session
Educate your coworkers and friends about child labor and the dangers it poses to children. Encourage them to donate to help poor families.
Attending ILO and UN-sponsored events
Such activities should be attended since they strengthen your understanding and commitment to the cause. Contribute by volunteering at such activities.
3 FACTS ABOUT CHILD LABOR EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE KNOWLEDGE
- 160 million children worldwide
Over the last four years, the number has increased by 8.4 million. Right now, there are 160 million children who are victims of child labor.
- 70% of children working in agriculture
The highest percentage of children involved in child labor work in the agriculture sector.
- Poverty is the biggest cause
According to stats from the U.N, the biggest cause of child labor is poverty and unemployment.
DURBAN CALL TO ACTION
Durban Call to Action on the Elimination of Child Labor is the outcome of the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labor held in Durban, South Africa, on May 15-20, 2022. There are strong commitments in six different areas.
- Strengthen multi-stakeholder efforts to prevent and end child labor, with a focus on the most dangerous types of child labor, by making decent work a reality for adults and youth above the legal working age.
- End child labor in agriculture.
- Strengthen data-driven and survivor-informed policy and programmatic responses to prevent and eradicate child labor, especially its worst forms, forced labor, modern slavery, and human trafficking, as well as the protection of survivors.
- Fulfill children's right to education by providing universal access to free, compulsory, high-quality, equitable, and inclusive education and training. Achieve universal access to social protection.
- Increase funding and international collaboration in the fight against child and forced labor.
IMPORTANCE OF CHILD LABOR
a. We can hinder child labor
The more we know about child labor, the more we will be able to work towards its eradication. The idea behind observing World Day Against Child Labor is to spread awareness of how dangerous child labor is and that it needs to stop.
The more we understand child labor, the better equipped to end it. The goal of commemorating World Day Against Child Labor is to raise awareness about the danger of child labor and how to end it.
b. It exhibits our resolve against child labor
Organizations like ILO operate on volunteerism and support. By celebrating this day, we express our commitment against child labor.
c. It supports freedom
Around half of all working children are working in bad working conditions and are in danger of being permanently handicapped.
Our commemoration of this day would be an effort to promote their freedom and pave the road for the end of child labor.
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