International Children’s Peace Prize WinnersThe International Children’s Peace Prize, which was launched in 2005 by KidsRights, recognizes young people who are actively fighting for children’s rights. The mission behind the award is to provide children with a platform where they can express their ideas, stories and personal involvement so that more children can gain access to the basic human rights they deserve.

Each year, the winner of this prestigious award receives a study and care grant and a platform to promote their ideas to help other children around the world. Also, KidsRights invests £100,000 in a project fund in the winner’s area of work in their home country.

Here are three children who have won the International Children’s Peace Prize.

3 International Children’s Peace Prize Winners

  1. Nkosi Johnson was the first winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize, receiving the honor posthumously. The statuette that the organization gives out each year is named in his memory. Johnson was born HIV positive and died at the age of 12. However, in his short life, he actively fought for his and other children’s right to attend school and be treated equally. He opened a home for poor mothers and children with HIV/AIDS and encouraged the South African government to provide HIV/AIDS mothers with treatment options.
  2. At age 5, Om Prakash Gurjar and his family were forced to work on a farm to pay off the money his father owed to his landlord. Gurjar only received two meals a day and was beaten on a daily basis. He was not able to pursue his education further because he was working many hours a day to help his family. However, when he turned 8 years old, he was rescued by Kailash Satyarthi who was part of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan. This organization educated Gurjar about children’s rights and he received an opportunity to continue his education. At this point, he started advocating for the rights of other children and through many activities raised awareness for children’s rights and the importance of education. By the time he turned 12 years old, he was elected Chair of the Child Parliament of his school. When his school started demanding fees from parents, he sued and won a court case which required the school to refund his parents in his full. Gurjar won the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2006.
  3. Kesz Valdez became the first Southeast Asian to receive the International Children’s Peace Prize. At a young age, he was surrounded by poverty. When Valdez was just 2 years old, his abusive father forced him to collect garbage to earn money. At the age of 4 years old, he ran away from home and ended up begging on the streets. The turning point in his life came when he fell into a burning pile of garbage at a dump site and a social worker took him to the hospital. From that point on, the social worker took care of Valdez and took him under his wing. He got the opportunity to go to school for the first time and made the most of it.But he never forgot his roots. Once he was in a position to do so, he began distributing gifts to children living on the streets. This is how ‘Gifts of Hope’ started which signified Valdez’s first step in advocating for children’s rights. Gifts of Hope started with only seven boxes during its first year and now about 1,000 boxes are distributed every year.

Each year, the International Children’s Peace Prize recognizes children that have done extraordinary things to change their own destinies as well as help other young people around the world. 

Komalpreet Kaur
Photo: Unsplash

Child Trafficking in Ghana
Ghana, as a country, represents an epicenter for a vicious cycle where many men, women and children are victims of trafficking. This topic is a huge challenge for the country. Countless of Ghana’s children are taken from their homes and brought to work in poor conditions, mostly in the fishing industry. These young children are then forced to work long hours and live in squalor.

It is more common for boys to be forced into hard labor that includes things as diving into the water to untangle the fishing nets, while girls are sent to the Middle East where they become domestic workers in households or prostitutes being obligated to sell their bodies. According to the Head of the Counter-Trafficking Department of the International Organization for Migration child trafficking in Ghana is actually a distortion of the old cultural practice of placement with relatives or townspeople.

Statistics of Child Trafficking

Three thousand children are victims of child trafficking each day worldwide. It is estimated that child trafficking is an industry that earns $10 million yearly, but what are the factors that can cause a child to be trafficked? One prominent factor is lack of education and this certainly is one of the causes of child trafficking in Ghana as 623,500 children in Ghana are not even enrolled in school.

Extreme poverty also plays an issue in child trafficking as families sometimes leave their children behind or give their children to the traffickers. There is a large number of street kids who are easy prey to the traffickers who offer them the allure of a better life. Over 40 million babies are born every year and fail to be identified. Invisible children or the absence of birth registration happens when a child is born and is never registered with the local government or council. These children are perfect victims for child traffickers.

Challenging Heights’ Work

One organization that is currently working as an advocate for the right to a safe and protected home for every child in Ghana is Challenging Heights. James Kofi Annan founded the organization in 2003 and advocates for children rights. Annan was a fishing slave himself and was forced to work for seven years before he escaped, got an education and became a bank manager.

Challenging Heights is an organization committed to ending child trafficking in Ghana, reducing child slavery and promoting children’s rights in the country. They are currently focused on child labor, especially in the fishing and cocoa industry. As many as 24,000 children are victims of worst forms of child labor annually in Ghana. Challenging Heights’ works on improving child rights through three types of agendas: rescuing, preventing and advocating.

Challenging Heights also works to economically empower the women of Ghana. One plan that this organization has implemented is opening a smokehouse where the women can preserve the fish caught by the fisherman. The women can use the smokehouses free of charge and then they are able to sell their fish within the community, helping them make an income for their families. Challenging Heights also offers youth empowerment Programs. These programs teach children a certain career skill and offer training programs to hopefully set the youth up on the right track towards obtaining an education or a job.

Lake Volta Actions

Many of Challenging Heights rescue missions take place at Lake Volta. The Lake was built in the 1960s and is one of the world’s largest man-made lakes. Lake Volta is a way of life for most fisherman and people in the country where about 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Children are most often exploited by fishermen desperate to feed their families and eke out a living along the banks of Lake Volta. With help from locals in the community, Challenging Heights makes several recuses a year. The liberated children are taken back to Challenging Heights rehabilitation house and offered care. This care can vary from medical, psychological or emotional. Each child stays with the organization for almost a year while their families are interviewed and assessed in hopes that this will deter them from falling back into child trafficking.

Thanks to Challenging Heights, more than 1,500 children have been rescued and 400 children have been given proper care in the organization’s rehabilitation center. The overall goal for this organization is to end child trafficking in Ghana by 2022. Currently, 103,300 people in Ghana are trapped in modern-day slavery. Challenging Heights hopes to combat this number by advocating for the victims, partnering with the government and nongovernmental organizations all while having the goal of ending child trafficking in Ghana in mind.

– Jennifer O’Brien

Photo: Pixabay

Child Labor
Child labor is defined as the employment of children who are under the legal working age. Currently, there are about 265 million children engaged in child labor around the world. While this is clearly not ideal, there has been a reduction in child labor across the globe, from 23 percent of children working in 2000 to close to 17 percent in 2012. Many countries whose laws once allowed for child labor now protect their children from such harsh conditions instead.

Where Countries Are Based on Levels of Income

There are four basic income levels. Level 1 is extreme poverty; the family can barely afford to eat and must get water from wells. Level 2 is lower-middle income; the family can afford decent food and shoes. Level 3 is upper-middle income; the family can afford running water and basic appliances. Level 4 is high income; the family can afford a nice house and cars.

The higher a family’s income, the less likely they are to have their children work from a young age. Likewise, the higher a country’s income, the less likely they are to approve of child labor. We can see the likelihood of child labor by looking at the income level of different countries.

Level 4: Ireland

In 18th and 19th century Ireland, children were routinely put to work because they could be paid less than what adult workers were paid, they could operate certain machines that adults could not and it was believed that they would grow up to be harder workers. In many cases, children aged 3 to 7 were outright kidnapped by organized trade rings and forced to do whatever work their masters wanted them to.

The Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act of 1996 changed all of that. Under this law, Irish employers cannot make children younger than 16 work full time. Additionally, employers cannot hire anyone under age 14 at all. Children aged 14 to 15 can only do light work during school holiday periods, work in educational programs that are not harmful to their health or cultural enrichment jobs. On top of that, employees aged 18 or younger must receive a minimum of €6.69 per hour, which is 70 percent of the Irish adult minimum wage.

Level 3: Croatia

In Croatia, the legal minimum age for work is 15. From the ages of 15 to 18 years old, children can only work with written permission from their parents, and inspections must show that the labor does not interfere with the child’s health, morality or education. In addition, anyone caught dealing in child prostitution in any way will face a three to 10-month prison sentence.

These laws have not stopped all child labor in Croatia. Roma children are often forced to beg in the streets, and Croatia experiences the active trafficking of young girls for prostitution. That said, the 2006-2012 National Program for the Protection of the Best Interests of Children made great strides in the reduction in child labor, particularly prostitution.

Level 2: Sudan

Of Sudan’s 37.96 million children, 45,600 are currently subject to child labor. Not only are there no laws against child labor, but the government also encourages it by kidnapping children in rural areas during military raids. These children start working at age 5, so they miss out on their educations, which otherwise would be compulsory.

However, Sudan has made strides in decreasing the child labor rate, including signing a Partnership Protocol Agreement with the European Union in 2008 and inspecting working environments to keep children from working in toxic conditions. Unfortunately, little has been done to help rural areas. Families have to migrate to urban areas or to other countries to escape labor and let their children get an education. Although, escape from Sudan is illegal and far from easy, it is still possible.

Level 1: Niger

The child labor rate in Niger is 42.8 percent. The jobs that young children are made to perform include agriculture, mining, caste-based servitude and forced begging. The government has set up a number of programs to reduce child labor, including Centers for Education, Legal, and Preventative Service; The Project to Reduce Child Labor in Agriculture; and The World Bank Country Program. However, these programs have made only moderate advances in stopping child labor.

Child labor continues to be a problem in the world today. Poor and corrupt countries are quick to put children to work because the children do not require high wages. However, laws and legislation all over the world have resulted in a global reduction in child labor. It has not stopped child labor altogether, but a little progress is better than none at all. The fight to end child labor continues.

Cassie Parvaz
Photo: Flickr

Saharan Africa
Child labor is a major concern for the future of developing nations. This represents a practice that hinders the development of the poorest nations on the planet while simultaneously hampering the development of their future generations. This practice has a large impact on the youngest among us; however, we do have reason to be optimistic that, together, we can end the exploitation of children.

Top 10 Facts About Child Labor

  1. Currently, reports indicate that approximately 168 million children are exploited by child labor around the world. Of those 168 million, approximately 100 million are boys and 68 million are girls.
  2. Poverty and lack of educational opportunities are the main factors that often force children to work because children must work in order to help their families financially. Furthermore, if children have limited access to education, many are forced to turn to work in order to provide for themselves and their families.
  3. Most children work in the agricultural sectors, growing cash-crops like coffee or cocoa that are then shipped to richer, more developed countries.
  4. Emergencies or crises often force children to work. Take Syria for example; many of the families that have fled the country have young children. In many cases, these children have to work in order to help the family overcome the hardships associated with fleeing their war-torn country.
  5. The highest incidence of child labor takes place in sub-Saharan Africa. This is due, in part, to the high levels of poverty in the area and the need for unskilled labor to work on the many cash-crop producing farms.
  6. Due to an increase in awareness and work of several organizations, child labor is on the decline. Between 2000 and 2012, the total number of children being exploited for their labor has declined from 245 million to 168 million children.
  7. Consumers can help end child labor by being well-informed and making sure that companies they buy from do not engage in child labor practices. While this might require more research from the consumer, it is a critical step in ensuring that child labor ends.
  8. Access to education opportunities can end child labor. If parents can send their children to a safe, quality school, then they may encourage them to stay in school and continue their education instead of immediately trying to work.
  9. U.N. member states adopted 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development in 2015. These Goals included ending all forms of slavery, child labor and exploitation by 2025.
  10. Individuals can make a difference in helping to end child labor by contacting their representatives and senators in Congress or other government officials and encouraging them to support legislation and initiatives that help end global poverty. In doing so, those individuals become advocates for children’s rights and help eliminate some of the conditions and causes of child labor. People can also get involved through groups like The International Labor Organization (ILO), which works with governments to set labor standards and prevent forced and child labor.

Now more than ever, there is a reason to be optimistic about ending the exploitation of children for labor. As the facts show, child labor is decreasing and many global programs are working to end it once and for all. Hopefully, these top 10 facts about child labor will encourage you to act. As consumers, we can demand that businesses do not exploit the labor of children. As concerned citizens and voters, we can demand that our leaders work to address this problem and end it forever.

– Raymond Terry

Photo: Flickr

Child Labor
Mexico has a population of 116 million, and half of the population lives below the poverty line. These impoverished conditions make the people of Mexico desperate for work, including young children, and such a struggle creates a significant amount of child labor in Mexico.  

Child Labor and Exploitation

Children are exploited on a daily basis in Mexico and are put in danger doing their jobs. In an interview with Aljazeera, a 16-year-old boy named Albino, who has been out of school since he was 12, stated: “You just devote yourself to your work and you’re proud that you no longer play with small children.”

Albino says he only gets to see his family every 20 days and he gives them half of all the money he makes. He does regret leaving school, but he is glad he can help his parents with money.

Albino’s story is not unusual; actually, his tale is very typical for child laborers in Mexico. Young children often have to provide for themselves or help provide for their families, which causes many of them to go into dangerous work for very low pay. About 3.5 million children in Mexico work carrying wood or cement, or as servants.

Typical Child Laborer Jobs and Risks

It’s estimated that of the children that work in Mexico, 40 percent are not old enough to work legally and 60 percent are working in conditions considered dangerous to their mental and physical health, and safety.

These children are working jobs in fields, on the streets, in dangerous factories and around many other unsafe places with horrible working conditions. Children go up and down the streets just to sell various objects to anyone willing to buy, and such a sale will barely provide food for that specific day in Mexico. Children working in the fields work sunrise to sunset (or even longer), and 1 out of 4 workers is 13 years old or younger.

Influential Allies

The government has tried to help combat the issue of child labor in Mexico. In 1997, a program called Prospera started and it offers “conditional cash transfers” to Mexican citizens. This stipend is supposed to be an incentive for Mexican families to keep their children in formal education while attending workshops on things like sex education and family planning.

Another program that offers “conditional cash transfers” is a program called Oportunidades. Much like ‘Prospera,’ participating families will get money from the government provided that the children stay in school, all family members get regular medical check-ups and mothers attend health workshops.

Although child labor in Mexico is prevalent, it has dramatically decreased over the past decade. This can be attributed to parents having a better education and to government programs like Prospera and Oportunidades intervening in difficult situations.

Improvement on the Rise

There are 40 percent fewer children aged 12-14 years in the labor force compared to just ten years ago, and there’s also been a dramatic increase in the number of children remaining in school. In addition, 93 percent of children from 12-14 years old are attending school.

These numbers will continue to grow if new generations continue to acquire an education, allies provide needed support and Mexican citizens do not enter the workforce at such young ages.

– Ronni Winter
Photo: Flickr

Facts About Child Miners
An estimated 1 million children worldwide work as miners. These are 10 facts about child miners in the world today.

Key Child Miners Facts

  1. Child miners can be found in parts of Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. Most of these children, from economically downtrodden backgrounds, are either uneducated or school-dropouts, with the exception of a few who attend both work and school. They work in inhumane and dangerous conditions to extract minerals and ores in high demand in the global market.
  2. Mining is considered one of the worst forms of child labor as the hazardous working conditions in mines adversely affect the safety and health of children.
  3. One of the facts about child miners working in the artisanal mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is they contribute to the production of cobalt, coltan, copper and tin. These materials are used in the fabrication processes of modern electronics like laptops and cell phones. Of the 2 million miners in DRC’s artisanal mines, 40 percent are children and their earnings range from $0.75 to $3 a day. In 2017, Amnesty International warned the world of the use of child labor in cobalt mining and urged large companies to be wary of purchasing unethically mined cobalt.
  4. Poverty, lack of educational and economic opportunities, corruption, lenient law-enforcement and the soaring demands for mined materials in the global market are primary reasons for the prevalence of child labor in mines.
  5. Cobalt mining often involves injuries, death and health hazards. Stone mining causes dehydration, respiratory infections and accidents. Gold mining exposes children to toxic vapors and mercury-poisoning, and mining salt exposes child miners to dizziness, skin problems and iris discoloration.
  6. Stone quarries in Guatemala are often found along public shores, where poor families set up camps to mine volcanic river rocks. These are then sold to construction companies at low prices. According to reports by the International Labour Organization (ILO), it takes three days for a 13-year-old boy to produce one cubic meter of gravel that sells for $7.50. Children as young as five are found collecting and breaking rocks with hammers in these mines. Both adults and children work eight hours a day, six to seven days a week. The quarries in Nepal are reported to have child miners between ages 10 to 12. Girls and boys in Madagascar’s stone quarries also work long hours collecting and crushing blocks of stones.
  7. Of the 10 facts about child miners in the world, gold mining deserves a special mention as it exposes children to mercury-poisoning, which is extremely likely due to the nature of gold extraction. Child gold miners are often found in the Sahel region of Africa (mainly in Burkina Faso and Niger). High levels of poverty in the region forces families to send children under 18 to work in the mines. They constitute 30 to 50 percent of the entire gold-mining workforce. These children work with heavy and primitive equipment to break rocks and transport them to washing, crushing and mineral processing. Children often work underground in narrow shafts and galleries.
  8. The ILO estimates 10,000 children are involved in gold mining in Ghana and more than 65,000 children work in the mines of Bolivia, Peru and Equador. According to a study by the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), many instances of illegal mining occur in Côte d’Ivoire, where children are often trafficked from neighboring areas and held in slavery-like conditions. Mongolia and the Philippines are some of the other countries with child miners.
  9. IPEC has been working hard to ensure that children in areas like Niger and Senegal are protected from joining the salt mining business. A highly labor-intensive process, mining salt includes harvesting (digging pits, filling and lifting sacks) and distilling salt alongside transporting ore and fuel to aid the process. Children participate in all stages of salt mining.
  10. Child labor is also widely used in the mica mining industry in India and Madagascar; talc mining in Brazil; coal, salt and gemstone mining in Pakistan; gold mining in China; gem mining in Sri Lanka.

Most countries in the world have signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which recognizes the right to protect children from economic exploitation. Human Rights Watch believes boycotting goods produced from these mines is not the solution, as it would adversely affect the economy of these nations. Instead, in accord with U.N. Guiding Principles, it proposes that international companies that buy these products initiate programs to ensure they do not benefit from child labor in any manner. Consumers from developed nations like the U.S. and the U.K., which provide the main markets for these products, should also become more aware of where the products come from. These 10 facts about child miners do not represent all the complexities that involve the lives of child miners. International nonprofit organizations are still working to create awareness and acquire more data on the use of children in the mining industry.

– Jayendrina Singha Ray
Photo: Flickr

Child Laborers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Mineral resources abound in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, yet this apparent blessing has caused the problematic use of child labor in mines. The UNICEF estimates 40,000 child laborers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) mine for the resources enjoyed by the rest of the world.

Recently, human rights activists have protested the employment of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s artisanal miners because of reports of extremely poor working conditions. Additionally, the artisanal miners produce an estimated 10 to 25 percent of the world’s supply of cobalt, a mineral necessary for many electronic devices.

The issue of child laborers in the DRC is connected to the country’s poverty in nine ways:

  1. The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s colonial past has caused enduring conflict and political stratification, creating avenues for the exploitation of children. The distance between those in power and the Congolese has persisted over the years. King Leopold of Belgium never visited his territory, yet used its resources. Joseph Kabila has been president since 2001 and has refused to leave office. In 2016, he banned public protests to restrict the voice of most Congolese. The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s colonial roots have led to unrest, like the civil war from 1997 to 2003. Improving the lives of its citizens has not been a priority, and they remain in poverty and in underpaid, brutal working conditions. In 2014, the country had the highest rate of extreme poverty in the world due in large part to instability from political clashes and the abuse of children.
  1. Current exploitation of children for the world’s supply of cobalt is only the newest indignity in a long history of misuse. Beginning with colonization, this naturally rich country has become poor because so many countries have simply taken what they wanted. For example, its rubber trees fueled the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the U.S. in the 19th and early 20th centuries. What basically constituted slave labor accomplished the extraction of rubber, a precursor to today’s exploitation of child laborers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to fuel technological innovation.
  1. When the Democratic Republic of the Congo was a colony, Belgium failed to regulate education. This left the country undeveloped and at the mercy of exploitative, low paying jobs. Belgium left education to missionaries, whose numbers were too few to educate the majority. Out of a population of 13 million, there were 16 university graduates by 1960, allowing very few Congolese the opportunity to break the cycle of exploitation.
  1. In independence, The Democratic Republic of the Congo still has not prioritized education, funneling more children into the mines. The country’s constitution guarantees a free elementary education, but poverty and instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have allowed very few schools in rural mining areas and with few other options, children as young as four go to work in the mines.
  1. The money children make in the mines often constitutes a primary source of income for their families. Child laborers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo only receive $2 to $3 per day.
  1. Mining causes death, injury and birth defects, propagating the poverty that caused the exploitation of child laborers. From the infants strapped to their mothers’ backs to the children working on their own, miners are exposed to toxic metals that cause breathing problems and birth defects. For example, miners in the southern areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo were found to have urinary cobalt concentrations that were 43 times the levels found in a control group. Birth defects occur that are so rare they have only ever been found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Additionally, no standardized safety equipment or procedures exist. In the resource-rich province of Katanga, an average of 6.6 children die a month from soil collapses caused by deep digging.
  1. The importance of cobalt in modern technology has only worsened exploitation as developed countries continue to take the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s resources. Cobalt is necessary to create lithium-ion batteries found in cell phones, laptops and electric cars. A battery for an electric car can require up to 15,000 grams of lithium-ion. As the most expensive raw material in these new batteries, it follows that cheap labor would be prioritized, leading to the exploitation of children.

  1. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has become economically dependent on these minerals and the children who mine them for little pay. While the country mines a variety of minerals, it is cobalt that the world depends on.
  1. Because the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been politically turbulent and poor, a lack of transparency in cobalt’s global supply chain exists. Cobalt is purchased by Chinese firms in the country and then sold to outside technological manufacturers like Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Tesla, Inc. and Samsung. While law requires American companies to verify the origins of minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, cobalt is not one of the named conflict minerals and thus exempt from this law.

The good news is, as the technology requiring cobalt becomes more prominent, many have protested this exploitation and made positive changes. In addition, here are some positive moves by several large corporations:

  • Apple cut ties with one of its largest artisanal cobalt suppliers because of the abuse of child laborers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Apple claims to internally consider cobalt as a conflict mineral.
  • Microsoft has publicly claimed a lack of tolerance for child labor for its cobalt.
  • Samsung and Tesla claim increased efforts in documenting supply chains.

If these companies continue refusing to condone the exploitation of children in mines, hope exists for child laborers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

– Charlotte Preston
Photo: Flickr

World Day Against Child Labor
June 12 is World Day Against Child Labor, organized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) to raise awareness about the depth and dangers of child labor throughout the world. This event takes places in multiple cities all over the globe in an effort to mobilize large numbers of people against the atrocities of child labor.

World Day Against Child Labor

However, despite the fact that World Day Against Child Labor was created in reaction to a devastating and damaging practice, this day has become a positive one. World Day Against Child Labor, conducted by the ILO, takes specific actions to reduce child labor and work with systems that perpetuate it, such as employers and large corporations; this international day calls to mind the changes and benefits made so far.

The World Day Against Child Labor was created in order to bring light to the fact that more than 168 million children are child laborers. This statistic becomes even more drastic — over 84 million child laborers are employed in hazardous and unhealthy working conditions.

Every year on June 12, the ILO works to enlighten those in positions of power to the extent and depth of this issue, with the hopes of inciting change. One of the organization’s goals is to end all forms of child labor by 2025. The ILO takes ambitious and successful steps through its employees in order to bring about progress.

The International Labor Organization

Most of ILO’s actions against child labor take place directly in geographic regions with the most trouble with child labor. The ILO has found that “72.1 million children [are employed] in Africa, 62.1 million in Asia and the Pacific, 10.7 million in the Americas, 1.2 million in the Arab States and 5.5 million in Europe and Central Asia.”

The ILO’s projects entail 90 percent of staff members to work directly in the most affected nations. Many of these staff members work with victims of child labor in support groups to help in abuse recovery. Their employees also work with parents and relatives of child laborers to better understand the causes, conditions and effects of child labor, as told directly by those that see it firsthand.

Additionally, ILO employees on the headquarters staff engage in projects to gather data, research and evaluations so as to become fully informed on major issues. This attention to detail helps the ILO gain accurate, proven data to display at events such as the World Day Against Child Labor. These efforts support legislation and policy development, advocacy and awareness raising, institutional development and social services.

ILO Convention No. 182

One of ILO’s major projects is “ILO Convention No. 182,” and countries that ratify this Convention are required to immediately take action to prohibit child labor. The nations are given a time frame restriction to prevent the engagement of children in labor, provide direct assistance to remove children, rehabilitate and socially integrate former laborers, ensure access to free education and vocational training, reach out to children at special risk, and take consideration for female laborers in special conditions.

Another important project ILO implemented is an effort to work with companies and corporations concerned about child labor in their workforce. This project is titled Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Child Labor. Many companies are concerned about the morality of employing children, as well as the company’s public image.

The ILO’s project with CSR and Child Labor involves supporting businesses’ efforts to increase compliance with the ILO’s standards, particularly their most important standard — Convention No. 138 on Minimum Age.

Accomplishments For Children Everywhere

All of these efforts have culminated in various accomplishments for the ILO since its inception in 1919. In 1969, the ILO was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize due to its success in reducing the rate of child labor within 50 years. The ILO’s data collection efforts allowed it to publish “The Code of Practice on HIV and the World of Work” in 2001, which was distributed in 30 languages.

One of the organization’s greatest achievements, however, was the implementation of the International Labor Code in June 2008 geared towards setting standards. This document lists the various Conventions of the ILO that sets guidelines and instructions for corporations as well as entire nations. These standards are used daily by those that join the ILO in its efforts to end child labor.

The World Day Against Child Labor is a culmination of the ILO’s goals, projects and accomplishments. Each year, The World Day Against Child Labor is successful in educating more international citizens, business owners, politicians and victims on how the atrocities of child labor can finally be stopped.

– Theresa Marino
Photo: Flickr

Zimbabwe's Tobacco Secret: Confronting Child Labor in Zimbabwe
The nation of Zimbabwe is working towards more economic stability with its multiple industries, but has recently made headlines for its harmful farming practices, such as child labor.

Zimbabwe has been in the news for its tobacco farming practices, as farm workers have complained about health complications from working on tobacco farms, as well as the poor regulations on farms that fail to ensure that workers’ rights are being respected. What has been more alarming is the discovery of child workers, who have prompted humanitarian organizations to investigate child labor in Zimbabwe as practiced on the nation’s tobacco farms.

Zimbabwe’s Economy

Zimbabwe had a GDP of $17.11 billion and a per capita income of $2,300 as of 2017. The nation’s economy is largely dependent on agriculture and relies heavily on tobacco production for economic sustainability.

The nation is the sixth-largest producer of tobacco in the world, and the tobacco plant is the nation’s most valuable export commodity. The industry alone brought the nation an estimated $933 million in 2016.

Health Risks of Tobacco Farming

As the world’s demand for tobacco persists, growing concerns over child labor in Zimbabwe have surfaced as child workers have come forward to report the poor conditions they have faced while working on tobacco plantations.

According to UNICEF, one in four children in developing countries are engaged in child labor. Furthermore, in an extensive report published by Human Rights Watch, it was discovered that child laborers who harvested tobacco were exposed to nicotine and pesticides. This led to many experiencing symptoms consistent with nicotine poisoning, including nausea, headaches and dizziness. Heath researchers have also suspected that exposure to nicotine can affect brain development in children.

It was also discovered that farm workers who worked on larger farms worked long hours and did not receive any compensation for working overtime.

Human Rights Watch also noted that labor laws in Zimbabwe state that no child under the age of 16 is permitted to work and that children under the age of 18 are not permitted to work in a hazardous environment. However, several children under the age of 16 have reported working on Zimbabwe’s tobacco farms.

Solutions to Child Labor in Zimbabwe

The persistence of child labor in Zimbabwe is mainly attributed to the weak economy. With a national per capita income of roughly $2,300, families have resorted to using their children as laborers to help them survive.

Human Rights Watch child rights researcher Margaret Wurth stated that one solution to ending child labor in Zimbabwe is to make sure that companies who source tobacco from Zimbabwe do not purchase a crop produced by child workers, many of whom are forced to sacrifice their education and health to support their families.

The nation has about 120 labor inspectors, which is insufficient to monitor labor practices in every business, and it would be in the government’s best interest to recruit more inspectors to better monitor how business owners treat their employees.

The nation has shown signs of improvement; Human Rights Watch stated that the government has been working with trade unions and other groups “to develop occupational safety and health regulations for agriculture”.

Although child labor in Zimbabwe has become a crisis for the nation, it is likely that the nation’s government, under the authority of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, will be able to reverse its human rights abuses and further grow the economy, ensuring that children do not have to risk their health and education in order to help support their families.

– Lois Charm
Photo: Flickr

8 Global Issue Topics for Essays and Research Papers
Today, people are starting to become active participants in the fight against global issues and as a result, progress is being made. However, there are still individuals unaware of pressing issues around them. One way of bringing these people up-to-date would be through the use of essays or research. Here are 10 global issue topics for essays and research papers.

10 Global Issue Topics for Essays and Research

  1. Water Contamination and Shortage: 2.1 billion people in countries undergoing urbanization have inaccessibility to clean drinking water as a result of pollution, poverty and poor management of resources. Water resources are depleted by agriculture and industry energy production. To put into perspective, agriculture accounts for 70 percent of the reduction of water around the world, with 75 percent of a given countries’ water used for this purpose and depleted by contamination. Fortunately, there has been a recent increase in efforts to develop technology to combat contamination and reduce the rate of water depletion.
  2. The Relationship between Education and Child Labor: Despite a surge in funding for some countries and increasing attention through social media, education continues to be a luxury around the globe. Reasons include gender preferences and poverty, and child labor — the use of children in industry. According to UNICEF, 150 million children participate in laborious activities dangerous to their health. As one can imagine, this work hinders a child’s ability to fully invest in education. Therefore it’s most challenging to bring education to sub-Saharan Africa, where the rates of children enrolled in primary education continue to stagger. In addition, fewer students successfully complete secondary education here.
  3. Violence: Violence is a global issue that exists in all shapes and sizes. Violence can be done towards a particular group like women or LGBTQ+ members, or it is an act that can be a result of a mentally disturbed mind. There is also violence in response to economic stress. All these varying forms of violence lead to attention on the safety and prevention of such acts. However, there isn’t much consideration on how an everyday person can help. In discussions about violence, the biggest questions to answer are: How is this violence used? How is it achieved/accessed? Does the media have a role? How much is the foundation for a particular act of violence is personal? What is the overall goal?
  4. Poverty: In 2015, the International Poverty Line was set to $1.90. This number means that a person is living in extreme poverty if they live below this line. According to this set line, more than 1.3 billion people are living in this extreme worldwide. This fact suggests that 1.3 billion people have difficulty obtaining food and shelter, regardless of the availability of homeless shelters and organizations. Current questions or topics to explore in an essay or research would be the cause of variation in wages on the international level, and the nature and initiatives that can be taken to solve this global issue at large.
  5. Inequality: On a global scale, the focus on inequality tends to be in terms of the distribution of wealth. According to a Global Wealth Report, 44 percent of global net worth is held by only 0.7 percent of adults. This suggests that there is a significant division between economic classes around the world. Recently, research has shown the effects that this economic divide has on communities particularly in health, social relationships, development and stability. For example, in a society where there’s a large gap between the rich and the poor, life expectancy tends to be shorter and mental illness and obesity rates are 2 to 4 times higher. In terms of social relationships, inequality on a larger level introduces more violence and crime.
  6. Terrorism: Terrorism like the bombing incidents of the last few years continue to claim the lives of innocents. It is a threat to the peace, security and stability of the world, so terrorism prevention methods have been implemented to illustrate what is wrong and should be/could be done to uphold justice. However, the basis of the threats, mindsets and the successes/failures of response efforts still need to be evaluated.
  7. Child Marriages: Child marriages are defined as the union between one or two individuals under the age of 18. One in five girls are married before the age of 18, and child marriages prevent children from becoming educated, can lead to severe health consequences and increased risk of violence. Legislation and programs were established in order to educate and employ children in these situations as child marriages do not have enough awareness on individual involvement or emphasis on the common causes for these marriages.
  8. Food: Poverty, economic inequality and water contamination mean inability to produce sufficient amounts of food to sustain a population. This can, in turn, lead to poorer health and decreased energy to carry out physical and mental functions, leading to more poverty. By 2050, the world would need to find food for approximately nine billion people as cost of production for food will rise in response to the increased amount of individuals. Thus, the United Nations established programs to ensure food security and technology companies make efforts to reduce food production costs.

The Role of Essays and Research

There has been increasing progress towards solving the global issues; however, for some, this progress is too slow due to lack of understanding of preventative methods, diffusion of responsibility and unanswered questions. These global issue topics for essays and research papers can be used as a starting point to give more insight to others into the issues and how to get involved.

– Stephanie Singh
Photo: Flickr