Thank you for sparing a moment to join our staff at Equity for Children in recognition of World Day Against Child Labour. This year’s observance day comes accompanied by the slogan, “Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams!” 2019 marks the 100 year anniversary of the International Labour Organization (ILO), and this year’s observance reflects on the progress made by the organization in a century helping countries address the issue of child labor. At the ILO’s founding, its Director Albert Thomas stated, “It is the exploitation of childhood which constitutes the evil… most unbearable to the human heart. Serious work in social legislation begins always with the protection of children.” Despite the tireless advocacy conducted by the ILO and countless others since that statement, it still holds true. There are still 152 million children are engaged in exploitative child labor and in dire need of special policy attention.
“It is the exploitation of childhood which constitutes the evil… most unbearable to the human heart. Serious work in social legislation begins always with the protection of children.”
This year’s World Day provides an opportunity to call for action by the international community towards fulfilling the commitment that has been made in target 8.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Said target sets the goal to eliminate child labor in all forms by 2025. Success in fulfilling this target has the potential to benefit the future global workforce, but serious action must be taken towards improving occupational safety and health for all, and the elimination of all child labor. Ending child labor is crucial to ensuring that no child gets left behind in the push for progress. The ILO calls for the international community to broaden its area-based approaches targeted at the root causes of child labor. There is also a call this year for strengthening workplace health and safety, as well as strengthening accountability institutions to monitor the enforcement of labor rights, including ensuring against child labor. Good practices with meaningful results should be shared amongst the field, so that replication and expansion of good practices as well as partnerships at all levels in the movement against child labor can thrive and expand.
There are still 152 million children are engaged in exploitative child labor and in dire need of special policy attention.
It is crucial not only to safeguard the emotional well-being of youth from hazards or stresses of work, but also to defend their rights to education, leisure, and healthy development, for these all play important roles towards enabling children to fulfil their potential and access the necessary opportunities for success. Children with the time and opportunity to cultivate their intellect, communication skills, and physical health will be more dynamic participants and engaged social actors in the future, returning the investment incalculably on a commitment to ending child labor. Children engaged in work are in a vulnerable position, and therefore must be recognized and protected in the name of human rights as well. Children must also have their access to education protected, so that they have the opportunity to break away from the multigenerational cycle of poverty and provide a better future for their children as well as themselves. We must all continue striving as researchers, advocates, and practitioners, to identify and help children deprived of the chance to experience their childhood. A commitment to ending child labor is only one of the many ways in which we must fight to protect our children from deprivation, but it is an essential step towards improving the lives of children worldwide.
Here is a short clip from the UN and the fight against Child Labour.
Image from Pinterest