Juan Somavia Director-General of the ILO on the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour, 12 June, 2012
|Decent work for parents means that children are less likely to fall victim to child labour.”
However, the road to full eradication is long and challenging. The reality remains extremely worrying. The bottom line is that 215 million children are still trapped in child labour, 115 million of them in the worst forms. Our latest estimates indicated an increase of 20 per cent in child labour among young people aged 15 to 17, mainly involved in hazardous work.
On many counts the world is failing short on its responsibilities towards children and young people. Today, we call on all countries which have not ratified the international child labour Conventions to make a special effort to do so. We call on countries to apply as yet unratified Conventions and we call on all to respect the principles and rights embodied in these Conventions.
We can put together a combination of policies founded on respect for those principles and rights so that children can be free from child labour and have the chance of a better life. Effective education and training policies backed by social protection measures can produce significant increases in school enrolment and a decline in child labour. Decent work for parents means that children are less likely to fall victim to child labour. And better enforcement of national laws, including strengthening child labour inspection and monitoring, enhancing victim assistance and improving prevention strategies are critical to success.
In a world of growing inequality we must link policy agendas with basic standards of fairness and do right by the world’s children. In a world of incredible wealth, the means exist to end child labour. On this World Day with will and solidarity let us renew our efforts, stay the course, and reach the goal.
THE DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
The DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD preamble, proclaimed in 1959, states: “Whereas Mankind Owes To The Child The Best It Has To Give.”
The aim of Declaration (below) was to establish agreed definitions, boundaries and parameters which would help ensure child exploitation becomes unlawful globally and a thing of the past.
United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child (A Plain Language Version)
- All children have the right to what follows, no matter what their race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, or where they were born or who they were born to.
- You have the special right to grow up and to develop physically and spiritually in a healthy and normal way, free and with dignity.
- You have a right to a name and to be a member of a country.
- You have a right to special care and protection and to good food, housing and medical services.
- You have the right to special care if handicapped in any way.
- You have the right to love and understanding, preferably from parents and family, but from the government where these cannot help.
- You have the right to go to school for free, to play and to have an equal chance to develop yourself and to learn to be responsible and useful.
Your parents have special responsibilities for your education and guidance.
- You have the right always to be among the first to get help.
- You have the right to be protected against cruel acts or exploitation, eg you shall not be obliged to do work which hinders your development both physically and mentally.
You should not work before a minimum age and never when that would hinder your health and your moral and physical development.
- You should be taught peace, understanding, tolerance and friendship among all people
“Whereas Mankind Owes To The Child The Best It Has To Give…”
Were you even aware that, on June 12, hundreds of thousands of people around the globe were working to raise awareness of, and focus attention on, the global extent of child labour and what we as a global community need to do to eliminate it.
Did their message reach your corner of the world?
If so, was it effective in silencing the daily demands that swamp you? Was it able to focus your attention on the plight of the estimated 215 million children (127 million boys and 88 million girls) trapped in some kind of heinous child labour role RIGHT NOW … who need our help?
Did it inspire you to do something to help those 215 million children? And especially, to help the 115 million who are being subjected to ‘the worst form’ of child labor RIGHT NOW?
What is ‘The Worst Form?’
“For the purposes of this Convention, the term the worst forms of child slave labour comprises:
(a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of (child soldiers) children for use in armed conflict;
(b) the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances;
(c) the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties;
(d) work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.
World Day Against Child Labour
The World Day Against Child Labour, launched by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2002, is celebrated each year on June 12, with the very worthwhile target of eliminating the ’worst forms’ of Child Labour by 2016.
The UN’s latest figures estimate that of the 215 million children (127 million boys and 88 million girls) currently trapped (RIGHT NOW AS YOU READ THIS) in some kind of child labour, 115 million are trapped in ‘the worst form’ of child slave labour.
It’s quite shocking, especially when you realise that 115 million children subjected to slave-labour is a number greater than the total number of children, under the age of 18 years, living in the United States today.
‘Only’ 215 Million Children?
215 million! That’s quite a number! And it’s so easy to say it without giving it too much thought. 215 million … 215 million… 215 million. So, just how many people is 215 million … 215 million children to be more precise?
According to the US Census Bureau Population Clock it’s equivalent to approximately 3/4 of the total population of the United States, which at June 2012 is nearly 314 million people.
For my Australian friends, 215 million people is 10 times the total population of Australia.
That’s quite a substantial number of people …. children!
The Real War Against Child Slave Labor Is Against Our Complacency!
Juan Somavia, ILO Director-General said: ”There is no room for complacency when 215 million children are still labouring to survive, and more than half of these are exposed to the ‘worst form’ of child labour, including slavery and involvement in armed conflict. We cannot allow the eradication of child labour to slip down the development agenda — all countries should be striving to achieve this target, individually and collectively.”
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently stated, “The exploitation of children anywhere should be a concern to people everywhere.”
Abolishing The ‘Worst Forms’
Abolishing the “worst forms’ of child slave labor means ensuring the world’s children achieve freedom from exploitation, and remain free. For this to happen the people and governments worldwide need to work to persist in keeping children’s rights in the headlines, under the spotlight, and on the table.
Strong international treaties to outlaw the practice of child slave labour are not enough. It also demands we, the consumers, make supportive purchasing decisions that signal to manufacturers and suppliers we are committed to the target set by the ILO – To End Child Slave Labor by 2016.” #ECSL2016
If we are serious about putting an end to the ‘worst forms’ of Child Labour by 2016, we need to overcome any complacency and take a stand.
We need to decide to play a part, however small, in ending Child Slave Labour. And it’s surprisingly easy to get involved. There are some very simple actions we can take. For example, if you’re a chocolate lover like I am, you might commit to only consume chocolate products where the chocolate used is fully certified to be Fair-Trade and Child-Labor-Free.
The internet makes it very easy to check on food, clothing or household goods purchases, to ensure they’re free from illegal child slave labor practices. And there are growing numbers of organisations producing apps and websites which make this information freely and readily accessible.
If you have a favourite organisation, app, website or forum that helps you make child-friendly buying decisions, please feel free to share the link with us in the comments box below.
If you have any suggestions of things we can do to help these children, please feel free to comment below.
As the DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD preamble proclaimed in 1959: “Whereas Mankind Owes To The Child The Best It Has To Give…”
Let’s find ways to work together and do our Best to help these children. Let’s be the generation that makes Child Slave Labour a practice of the past. #ECSL2016
Together we can :)
Wishing you health and happiness friends,
Gaye Crispin #ECSL2016
End Child Slave Labor by 2016