SCREAM to End Child Labor

SCREAM to End Child Labor
An estimated 215 million children are involved in labor worldwide. Over half of these children are forced into the dark side of child slavery, drug trafficking, prostitution, and armed conflict. Labor of any kind deprives children of their right to adequate education, leisure, health and other basic freedoms, and forces them into a world of endless work and subjugation.

June 12 marks the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) annual call for a global commitment to end the harmful practice of child labor. Since 2002, the ILO has used this day to highlight the plight of children around the world who face this reality every day. It is the hope of the organization that the day will serve as a “catalyst for the growing worldwide movement against child labor.”

A number of efforts exist aimed at promoting support for and awareness of the cause led by the ILO and other organizations. The ILO’s chief effort is the campaign “Supporting Children’s Rights through Education, the Arts and the Media,” SCREAM for short.

SCREAM is based around the idea that every child has the right “to play, to go to school and to dream. Adults bear the responsibility, as guardians of childhood, for making that possible.” This sentiment is supported by community actors and organizations, all of which also believe in the promotion of social justice and the universal recognition of children’s rights.

Through education, the vicious cycle of child labor and poverty can be broken. In the same way that poverty leads to child labor, child labor also leads to further poverty. Education gives children the opportunity to remove themselves from this perpetual condition to realize their full potential.

The arts can act as a powerful tool in the empowerment of children. Through learning to express themselves, children can develop confidence, memory, self-discipline, and self-esteem.  One initiative,“Music against Child Labor Initiative”, asks orchestras, choirs and musicians across all genres to dedicate one concert to the struggle against child labor. Conductors Claudio Abbado, José-Antonio Abreu, Daniel Barenboim, the Mozart Orchestra, the International Federation of Musicians, and el Fundación Musical Simon Bolivar El Sistema are among the top supporters.

The initiative’s manifesto states that “music – in all forms – is a universal language. Although we sing in every tongue, it also expresses emotions we cannot say in worlds. It links us all. Together, the world of music can raise its voice and instruments against child labor.”

Finally, at a time when global communication is at an all-time high, the integration of media provides an important opportunity to bring an end to child labor. With the help of media attention, the SCREAM program has been carried out in 65 countries and is available in 19 languages.

– Kathryn Cassibry

Sources: International Labor OrganizationSCREAM

Photo: World Vision