10 Facts About Child Labor in South Africa
A report by the United Nations International Labor Organization (UNILO) reveals that about one in every five children partakes in child labor in South Africa. This contributes to the African continent’s reputation as the highest in numbers regarding child labor. Examples of explicit labor include, but are not limited to, working in agriculture for extremely low wages, working for factories in the black market or being forced into sex trafficking. The Child Labor Program of Action has defined child labor in South Africa as work by children under the age of 18 that is exploitative, hazardous or otherwise inappropriate for their age and detrimental to their schooling or social, mental, physical, spiritual or moral development. Here are 10 facts about child labor in South Africa.

10 Facts About Child Labor in South Africa

  1. Approximately 72.1 million African children engage in child labor, while 31 million are working hazardous jobs. These jobs include strenuous labor in agricultural work, mechanic work in unsanitary factories and selling their bodies.
  2. The 2016 Global Estimates of Child Labor indicates that one-fifth of all African children are child laborers. Nine percent of African children are working in hazardous jobs. Both figures are more than twice as high as any other region.
  3. In 2014, reports determined that 31,000 children of children absent from school or experiencing learning difficulties at school had suffered from work-related injuries. The number of reported injuries at work only dropped to 202,000 children in 2015.
  4. Inequality in the continent has led to high recordings of sex trafficking among female children between the ages of 8 and 16. Although people can also sell boys for the use of sex acts, records determine that people sell young girls the most. In these cases, families may sell them so they can pay off living expenses.
  5. More than 268,000 kids living in rural areas must work hard jobs in agriculture for ridiculously low wages and terrible working conditions. Earnings combined with their families’ incomes amount to less than $1.25 per day leading many families to fall below the poverty line.
  6. The unemployment rate amongst children who have completed school and those who have not is equal. This leads to fewer kids attending school and more seeking work so they can make money right away. A total of 80 percent of South African children will fail to complete high school due to the necessity of working in hazardous jobs to help their families pay off living expenses.
  7. The Survey of Activities of Young People stated that more than 120,000 children have already participated in economic affairs in 2010. Meanwhile, another 90,000 children have suffered an injury while working a job from 2011 to 2012.
  8. The International Labor Organization in 2002 launched World Day Against Child Labor. The goal is to draw attention to the practice of child labor globally and the event happens every year on June 12th. The ILO reflects on past accomplishments in minimizing child labor along with collaborating to find more solutions in compliance with the Alliance 8.7 organization.
  9. The Alliance 8.7 nonprofit organization is a global partnership to eradicate forced labor, modernized forms of slavery and human trafficking around the world. Its efforts have reduced the number of sex trafficking acts in South Africa along with working toward getting children out of hazardous working conditions.
  10. The International Labor Organization is continuing to grow the amount of Child Labor Units and National Steering Committee to eradicate child labor in South Africa by mobilizing globally and providing knowledge locally. The goal of these committees is to gain assistance from a global outreach in acquiring the right resources to eradicate child labor, provide knowledge of what child labor is, methods on how to reduce it and instigate action plans to disperse it.

These 10 facts about child labor in South Africa just scratch the surface of the dangerous realization of just how many young children child labor affects. Children are suffering life-threatening injuries, missing out on getting a proper education and working hazardous jobs for little wages. In 2017, South Africa made a significant advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The government passed a Child’s Protection Act prohibiting persons convicted of child trafficking from working with children. The adoption of Phase IV of the National Child Labor Program of Action for South Africa has increased funding for the Child Support Grant to provide monthly direct cash transfers to primary caregivers who have vulnerable children. While some changes are occurring to help improve child labor laws, the South African government requires more action to minimize the harm from this list of 10 facts about child labor in South Africa. With continued advancement, South Africa should continue to expect relief and improvement over the years.

Aaron Templin
Photo: Flickr