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Child_Poverty
Every day, the effects of poverty take the lives of thousands, with children suffering the most. Chronic poverty makes children more susceptible to disease, hunger, and developmental problems. Here are the most concerning facts about child poverty:

  1. According to the World Bank, more than 400 million children are living in extreme poverty (less than $1.25 a day).
  2. Roughly 16,000 children die each day—mostly due to preventable or treatable conditions.
  3. UNICEF estimates that over 2 million children ages 10-19 have HIV.
  4. Roughly half of all deaths of children under the age of five are caused by malnutrition.
  5. The International Labor Organization reports that 168 million children are child laborers; many of them in dangerous lines of work, such as factory jobs.

The question then arises, what can be done about child poverty? The good news is that, despite the previous data, progress is being made every day combating this issue. Here are four facts on the fight against child poverty:

  1. According to UNICEF, the mortality rate for children under age 5 has decreased by 53 percent since 1990.
  2. The World Health Organization says the most important element in reducing the mortality rate for children is increasing access to healthcare worldwide, particularly in preventative measures such as vaccines.
  3. Global programs, such as the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), are working to achieve WHO’s goal of increasing access to preventative care. Started in 2010, more than 235 million Africans have been vaccinated against meningitis through MVP.
  4. Ending child poverty can start with an individual. You can donate to an organization working to combat child poverty, and you can do things like contact congress to voice support for increasing foreign aid to causes like this.

The global community has made strides in combatting child poverty, but there is still work to be done to ensure sustainable futures for the world’s youth.

Emily Milakovic

Photo: U.N. Multimedia

Child Labor Laws
On World Day, June 12, the U.N. announced a renewed focus on child labor laws and supply chains. With so many children working, the U.N. says that all supply chains potentially use child labor.

Child labor encompasses “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to their physical and mental development.”

The International Labor Organization (ILO) and the U.N. have declared that nations must pass legislation in order to make lasting change. National governments need to adopt and enforce legislation that defines child labor and protects children against it.

Don’t child labor laws already exist?

Yes: ILO Convention No.182 helps to define the worst forms of child labor and makes a long term goal of the effective elimination of the issue. Also, Convention No. 138 sets the legal age at which a child may begin working.

For most member states of the U.N., the basic minimum age of labor is 15, with the possible exception of 14-year-olds in developing nations. The ILO stresses that no person under the age of 18 should be doing hazardous labor.

Considering that Convention No. 138 was written in 1973 and No. 182 in 1999, the goal of ending child labor is by no means a new one.

While conditions have improved since the inception of these conventions, 215 million children still take part in child labor today. Their employers often force them to work in the drug or sex trafficking industries. Some of these children are even forced to tote a gun and kill others.

Because child laborers number in the hundreds of millions, eradication may seem impossible. Fortunately, however, the numbers are dropping.

As more nations adopt the ILO’s conventions on child labor, the problem continues to diminish. In 2000, only 93 countries had ratified Convention No. 138 and  established a minimum age for child labor.

That same year, some 16 percent of children aged 5-17 were exposed to child labor worldwide. The most recent statistics from 2014 show that the number has dropped to 13.9 percent.

As the number of countries that have ratified Convention No. 138 jumps to 169, these small improvements will continue to grow in power and significance.

The real improvement comes with the ratification of Convention No. 182. Since 1999, hazardous child labor has dropped from an estimated 171 million children in 2000 to 85 million today. In addition, 180 countries have ratified this convention.

Ratification of these child labor laws and conventions has been effective in diminishing the problem, but it has not been enough to eradicate child labor.

In order to enforce child labor laws, governments must raise awareness of the problem. In addition, they must enact laws that enforce minimum working age and acceptable working conditions for children.

With World Day’s focus on child labor and its ensuing push for enforcement of ILO Conventions 182 and 138, world leaders will work to decrease the number of child laborers over the coming years.

-Aaron Parr

Photo: Pixabay

Info About Child Soldiers
According to DoSomething.org, “in the last 15 years, the use of child soldiers has spread to almost every region of the world and every armed conflict. Though it is hardly possible to define an exact number, thousands of children soldiers are illegally serving in armed conflict around the world.”

Eight Facts About Child Soldiers

    1. Currently, there are between 250,000 and 300,000 children soldiers globally.
    2. The recruitment for children starts at the age of 10 and they are used as instruments within wars to execute individuals unreasonably.
    3. A child soldier is any minor, regardless of gender, under the age of 18 who is recruited by a state or non-state armed group and who is used as a fighter, messenger, spy or even for sexual purposes.
    4. “Children are recruited because they are more manageable, more obedient and more easily manipulated than adults. Children are also less conscious of danger, and it is harder for them to see the difference between absence and death,” according to Humanium.
    5. Young people are more likely to get recruited if they come from marginalized communities, are displaced from their houses, live in a combat zone and do not have access to education.
    6. Humanium emphasized that “children who are orphaned, unaccompanied or living in a difficult family environment, see it as a solution to their problems, and taking part in an armed group seems safer than confronting these problems. Revenge, community identity and ideology can also influence children.”
    7. Additionally, armed forces take minors because they are less expensive to recruit and train compared to adults.
    8. “Child soldiers are usually presented as victims of adults, and forced recruitment is more readily emphasized than voluntary engagement,” said Humanium.

 

There are some extreme cases where children volunteer to become soldiers because it is a better option to the reality they face every day. They see this as an outlet from their current situation.

– Isabella Rolz

Sources: Child Soldiers, Do Something, Humanium
Photo: Flickr

Human Trafficking
There are several types of human trafficking, and they all have a common denominator: an abuse of the intrinsic vulnerability of the victims.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, human trafficking is defined as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the treat or use of force or other forms of coercion.”

Trafficking of individuals is a serious crime and a heinous violation of human rights.

“Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims,” said the UN.

The following are various categories linked to human trafficking.

Sex Trafficking

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime suggested that 53 percent of the victims are forced into sexual exploitation. “Sex trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, or harboring of persons through threat, use of force, or other coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation. This includes movement across borders, as well as within the victim’s own country,” affirmed Human Trafficking Search.

The International Labour Organization estimated that there is a worldwide profit of $100 billion for forced commercial sexual exploitation.

Additionally, “the perceived inferior status of women in many parts of the world has contributed to the expansion of the trafficking industry,” confirmed Human Trafficking Search.

Involuntary Domestic Servitude

Involuntary servitude happens when a domestic worker becomes enslaved in an exploitative position they are incapable of escaping.

“Domestic servitude is the seemingly normal practice of live-in help that is used as a cover for the exploitation and control of someone, usually from another country. It is a form of forced labor, but it also warrants its own category of slavery because of the unique contexts and challenges it presents,” said End Slavery Now.

Forced Labor

According to Human Trafficking Search, “Forced labor is work or service that is extorted from someone under the menace of any penalty and work or service that the person has not offered voluntarily.”

The International Labour Organization estimated that approximately 20.9 million people are enslaved to forced labor, and 4.5 are subjected to sexual forced exploitation.

Debt Bondage

“Debt bondage is a type of forced labor, involving a debt that cannot be paid off in a reasonable time,” said Human Trafficking Search. It is a period of debt during which there is no freedom, consequently, it is also known as debt slavery.

Child Soldiers

Child soldiers are described as persons under the age of 18, who have been recruited by armed forces in any capacity. Currently, there are thousands of soldiers worldwide.

“The definition includes both boys and girls who are used as fighters, cooks, porters, messengers, spies, or for sexual purposes,” added Human Trafficking Search.

Child Sex Trafficking

There are approximately 1.8 million children subjected to prostitution or pornography globally.

The Human Trafficking Search defined it as “a sexual exploitation by an adult with respect to a child, usually accompanied by a payment to the child or one or more third parties.”

Child Labor

A child is considered to be involved in child labor activities if this minor is between the ages of 0 and 18, is involved in a type of work inappropriate for their age and in a dangerous work environment.

However, there are several forms of child labor. The most common ones are related to the informal sector of the economy and are linked to agricultural labor, mining, construction and begging in the streets.

Said by the Polaris Project, “human trafficking is a form of modern slavery – a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 20.9 million people around the world. And no matter where you live, chances are it’s happening nearby. From the girl forced into prostitution at a truck stop, to the man discovered in a restaurant kitchen, stripped of his passport and held against his will. All trafficking victims share one essential experience: the loss of freedom.”

Isabella Rolz

Sources: Human Trafficking Search, UNODC, End Slavery Now, Polaris Project, United Nations, International Labour Organization

The Child River Trade Workers in Brazil
In Brazil, home to the world’s largest Amazonian rain forest, an ever-increasing number of young children are joining the workforce as so-called “river children.” These river children make a living and help support their families by canoeing up to the side of larger barges and tourist boats, where they climb on board and attempt to sell goods such as ingas, an elusive jungle fruit that is particularly popular with ferry passengers.

Following a process of bargaining, the children then climb off the boats with the few rials earned in their pockets, only to have to canoe back home for the entire length of the river that passed beneath them while they were above deck.

An Al Jazeera documentary created in 2011 and reviewed in the past week, titled The River Traders of Brazil, helped shed light on the shadowy lives of Brazil’s “River Children.” The documentary focused on the life of Jesse, an 11-year-old boy who lived along the narrowest stretch of the Tajapuru River in the Amazonian basin in northern Brazil.

Jesse, like the other river children working on the Tajapuru river, made a few rials for his family of 12 adults and 16 children by engaging in the river trading business. As the beginning of the documentary illustrates, Jesse and the other river trader children were initially tolerated and even treated warmly by crew members on the barges. The opening scene pans to an image of Jesse and a young girl sharing a plate of pasta in the underground cabin of a boat, with the narration smoothly announcing over the image “on the boat, there is always food set aside for the river children.”

However, as the documentary progresses, noticeable friction between the river children and the adult crew workers grows more and more. A captain, who claims that he always takes down the names of the river children, tells the camera that the information he has been taking down in his notebook has been increasing in recent years, with an ever-increasing number of stray children climbing aboard.

Further on in the documentary, it becomes obvious why.

Jesse, like his fellow classmates, attended school—which was an hour away by canoe—sporadically at best (the documentary claims he never went for longer than one month at a stretch). A scene with Jesse and his teacher films them on opposite sides of an argument: the teacher, trying to encourage the children to come to school more often, argues, “You are already so good on boats. Think about how much better you could be if you knew how to read and write.”

But Jesse, who comes from a family where the existence of daily food depends upon the pennies brought into the house each day by river-trading activities, counters that making the one-hour canoe journey in search of an education is ultimately futile.

Later in the documentary, the friction between the crew and the children reaches its breaking point, with the crew becoming openly more hostile to the swarms of young children tying their canoes to the sides of their boats.

The viewer discovers that part of this hostility lies in the fact that young river children, frustrated with the instability that a river trade life has to offer, have begun to turn to piracy. Jesse, along with his brothers and some of his cousins also turned to crime, only to come to a fatal end shortly thereafter following an attempted heist where he was killed by an angry crewman.

The fate of Brazil’s river children is little known outside of the small Northern Amazonian river communities directly affected by river trade activity. Yet the Al Jazeera documentary, initially filmed in 2011, and reviewed more recently within the past week, marks an important first step in unearthing the dangerous lives lived by so many desperate and juvenile Brazilian children. The young individuals risk everything, rowing against raging and intolerable currents and facing intolerance, even violence, at the crew members who await them, in the hopes of earning a few pennies for their families a day.

Ana Powell

Sources: Al Jazeera, Huffington Post
Photo: Ultimate Journey

Child-Labor-in-Vietnam
Over 1.75 million Vietnamese children, 9.6 percent of the population of people under 18 in the country, are laborers. Child Labor in Vietnam consists of children who are forced to work long hours, normally with little to no pay, in crowded factories or on agricultural farms. One third of the children work an average of 42 hours per week, and the majority are not able to attend school.

Labor trafficking — both domestically and internationally — is a major problem. As explained by a BBC report, trafficking gangs normally target rural villages, where they offer to take kids to cities in order to give them vocational training or technical skills. Parents normally agree because the people in these remote communities are not aware of the risks of human trafficking. Also, traffickers benefit from the “golden egg” culture of Vietnam, where children are sent to work abroad and send money back for the family.

Rather than receiving vocational training, the children taken from rural villages are forced to work, some in factories, some in domestic labor and others in agricultural labor. BBC discussed the case of Hieu (who declined to give his real name), an 18-year-old boy who was taken from the rural village of Dien Bien. Dien Bien is in the northwest, on the border of Vietnam and China. It is one of the poorest areas in the country.

Hieu was put into a small room, where he and the 11 other kids taken from his village were forced to work from 6 a.m. until midnight. They received no pay, and were beaten with a stick if they made a mistake. Hieu was finally able to escape when he and two other teenage boys jumped out the third story window at 1 a.m. Hieu has since been helped by the Blue Dragon Foundation, a Vietnamese-based charity that works to help child trafficking victims, and is now training to be a mechanic.

Groups like the Blue Dragon Foundation are making a difference. The foundation itself has rescued over 230 child trafficking victims since 2005. However, child trafficking continues to remain an issue in Vietnam, and Blue Dragon co-founder Michael Brosowski explained that it is likely getting worse because people are realizing how lucrative it can be.

Vietnam has been praised for its efforts to crack down on child trafficking internationally, since it has increased the number of prosecutions it holds to help end overseas gang activity. However, Vietnam’s control of child trafficking within the country itself needs to increase. Internal trafficking only became officially recognized in 2011, and traffickers are normally not given harsh punishments. The person who trafficked Hieu and the 11 other children from Dien Bien was fined $500 and his factory was closed down, but he did not go to court.

Part of the confusion over what sort of punishment must be given those who traffic internally in Vietnam stems from the fact that some child laborers are paid. While they are normally paid only a small amount, some argue that if a child who is poor, does not have enough to eat and had dropped out of school goes to a factory and gets paid, it is not necessarily a bad thing.

While there is still debate over trafficking within Vietnam, it has been more firmly established that trafficking Vietnamese children internationally needs to be stopped. As The Guardian said, one of the major destinations for traffickers who send Vietnamese children abroad to work is Britain, where over 3000 children are sent to work on cannabis farms, in nail bars, garment factories, brothels or in domestic labor. In order to combat this influx, in March of 2015, the UK passed a bill designed to increase the prosecution of traffickers and give more rights to those sent into modern slavery. However, some Vietnamese children who are sent to the UK and forced to work in cannabis cultivation are prosecuted for their actions, while their traffickers are not.

In recent years, a lot has been done in order to stop child labor within Vietnam and to stop the flow of Vietnamese children who are being trafficked into modern slavery around the world. However, in order to continue the fight against child labor and human trafficking, laws have to be more strictly enforced and clear conditions have to be set about how to punish those who traffic internally.

Ashrita Rau

Sources: BBC, The Guardian 1, The Guardian 2, Stop Child Labor: The Child Labor Coalition, Vietnam: The US Embassy, International Labour Organization
Photo: Sapa Trek

Bachpan-Bachao-Andolan-End-Child-Trafficking

Bachpan Bachao Andolan, one of the largest organizations in India that fights child labor and trafficking, filed a complaint on June 24, claiming that there is child labor occurring in south Delhi.

The district task force and a team of police carried out a raid and rescue operation in various south Delhi restaurants, clothing stores and jewelry stores. 24 children were rescued; 16 were between the ages of 10-14, and the rest were no older than 18.

According to the BBA website, in the last month the organization has rescued 124 trafficked children “working as bonded labors across occupations and processes like Zari units, jeans and garment outlets, shoes and slipper units, eating joints and bindi-making units.” These children worked long hours, often between 12 to 14 hours, without any wages.

“Child laborers continue to work across the capital despite various laws and directions of the court,” said BBA chairperson R.S. Chaurasia. “Thousands of children are still working in the small eating joints and hotels. More painful is the fact that adults working in thousands of shops and factories are not getting the prescribed minimum wage, making them send the children to such places.”

Children are often trafficked from vulnerable countries when they face desperation, a lack of basic resources and the promise of a better future. A 15-year-old boy from Nepal was convinced by a distant relative (who ended up being a trafficker) to leave his hometown and come to Delhi for employment and money that could help the family back home in Nepal. “After the earthquake in Nepal, conditions in my hometown were very difficult,” said the boy. “Me and my family were left with no work, no money and food.”

This boy (whose name has been withheld for anonymity) worked at a small hotel in Delhi under very inhumane conditions. His hands were severely wounded after long hours of cutting vegetables and cleaning pots and pans in the kitchen, but his “employers” failed to provide him with medical services. His cuts were crudely and cheaply stitched together at a local place.

According to the BBA website, “Hundreds of millions of children throughout the world are engaged in work that deprives them of adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating their rights. Of these children, more than half are exposed to the worst forms of child labor, such as work in hazardous environments, slavery or other forms of forced labor, illicit activities such as drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.” Child trafficking in India is a dire issue, especially today.

Bachpan Bachao Andolan is India’s largest grassroots movement to end the trafficking of children in India and to provide children with their basic human rights. Since October 2014, BBA has rescued over 83,500 trafficked children, enslaved children and children oppressed under child labor. BBA also helps these children assimilate into society after they are freed, helping them regain trust.

BBA was established by Kailash Satyarthi in 1980, when child labor was not recognized as a problem by the Indian government, media and public discourse. Since the organization’s beginnings, it has focused its efforts largely on the rescue operations of children in various dangerous environments such as brick kilns, stone quarries and carpet factories. It also runs rehabilitation centers for these rescued children.

BBA has demanded policy changes in government legislation to address child labor and anti-trafficking laws. The Supreme Court of India first addressed child labor and trafficking when an appeal was submitted in April 2011 by BBA. Since then, the Indian government has ratified the Palermo Protocol, and laws have been incorporated into the Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance.

– Margaret Anderson

Sources: BBA 1, BBA 2, IB Times
Photo: The National

Suriname Poverty
Poverty in Suriname affects nearly one out of every two people. The official rate is 47 percent. Some of the issues contributing to Suriname’s poverty are health, education, child labor, sexual exploitation and violence.

The children of Suriname do not have equal access to health care, which results in the neglect of serious illnesses. AIDS is the number one killer of children who are five and older. Any child that is infected by AIDS often has to be hospitalized immediately because there is no chance of taking care of the child at home. Malnutrition further catalyzes the effects of disease and a large amount of children are often hospitalized because of this.

Education in Suriname is also in shambles. The country favors the development of schools in the capital, leading to severe education inequality. Many primary schools that are not in the capital have teachers that are poorly trained, giving little hope for any improvement over time.

The amount of poverty in Suriname has often led to children having to take on jobs. The fixed age at which a child can start working is 14; however, eight percent of children ages five to 14 work, often in the agricultural industry where they are exposed to toxins.

Due to discrimination, there is also a lot of violence among the inhabitants of Suriname. The country is composed of several ethnicities and those belonging to the smallest group of minorities often get slighted when it comes to basic rights. These marginalized groups are often subject to forced labor and sexual exploitation.

There are improvements happening in Suriname though. For one, Suriname’s stance on child labor has improved. In 2013, Suriname made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. Recently the age limit for employment increased to 18. Increasing the capacity to enforce all child labor laws is also a goal for Suriname.

Education is also seeing improvements. The Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development, or SLO, has been actively participating in the development of the Surinamese basic education curriculum. Another sector in which we see the poverty in Suriname being addressed is the housing market. The Inter-American Development Bank supported Suriname by providing a single upfront subsidy for the poorest families to build new homes or improve an existing solution.

– Erik Nelson

Sources: Humanium, Inter-American Development Bank, Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development, U.S. Department of Labor

Photo: Flickr


Child labor, as defined by the International Labor Organization (ILO), is “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.” The persistence of child labor is one of the biggest obstacles to human rights globally. Child Labor perpetuates poverty by depriving children of education and leaving them without the skills needed to secure the future of themselves and their communities. This article sheds light on key child labor facts and the countries where child labor prevails.

Top 10 Child Labor Facts

  1. Much of Indonesia’s tobacco is produced by thousands of children as young as eight. Tobacco cultivation is extremely labor intensive and children are often subjected to serious health risks including nicotine poisoning.
  2. According to the ILO, 168 million children worldwide are engaged in child labor as of 2013.
  3. Of these 168 million children, 85 million are engaged in what the ILO deems “hazardous work.”
  4. According to a study conducted by the ILO in 2004, the benefits of eradicating child labor would “outweigh costs by nearly six to one.”
  5. The sub-Saharan African region has the second highest number of child laborers in the world; about 59 million in 2012. According to the Pew Research Center, 21.4 percent of children aged five to 17 are involved in child labor while 10.4 percent are engaged in hazardous work.
  6. Agriculture accounts for 60 percent of child labor according to the ILO.
  7. Only one out of five children involved in child labor is paid for their work.
  8. The majority of children in child labor perform unpaid family work.
  9. The 10 countries that strategic consulting firm Maplecroft listed as the worst countries for child labor in 2012 were: Pakistan, Afghanistan, North Korea, Myanmar, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi and Zimbabwe.
  10. About 60 percent of children in Ethiopia are engaged in some form of child labor. Many of these children work in the mining industry; an industry that poses some of the biggest dangers for child laborers.

Many parents in impoverished countries push their children into work out of necessity, unable to sustain their families on their own incomes.

One of the best ways to combat child labor is to provide fair wages and safe working conditions for parents so that they can provide for their families without being forced to depend on their children. To fight against child labor is the fight against global poverty.

– Matt Berg

 

Sources: Huffington Post, allAfrica, SMH, Rescue, Human Rights Watch, The Guardian, ILO 2, U.S. Department of Labor, Pew Research Center
Photo: Geneva Mission

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child labor
After child labor was legalized in Bolivia this past month, discussion of its causes and impact is on the rise.

The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) website reported that between the years 2000 and 2014, the number of child laborers has decreased one- third, from 246 million to 168 million children.

Though these numbers show promising signs, there are still many hurdles to overcome in ending child labor. Child labor does not merely consist of working in factories and on the streets, but so much more.

1. Slavery

Slavery can come in various forms but all amount to the same thing: a child is owned by someone and has zero say in what they have to do, where they go and what conditions they are forced to live in.

The Anti-Slavery International’s website reported a Sudanese woman named Mende who was taken as a teenager after being separated from her family. Mende ended up in a house in Khartoum as a domestic slave for six to seven years.

“[Once] my master… called me her slave. From that time on I understood who I am. From the beginning she treated me badly and beat me; even then I couldn’t understand why. It was only when she said that she was my owner and called me Abda [servant] that I understood.”

Slavery with children often occurs because the child’s family is in debt and cannot pay that debt off, so to become free from the burden of debt, they sell their child. The child will work for years to pay off their family’s debt.

Other types of slavery include forced labor, which in the private economy generates over $150 billion illegally per year. In addition, War Child U.K. has reported that there are an estimated 250,000 child soldiers in the world because of forced labor.

2. Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation is taking advantage of, abusing and mistreating someone sexually for profit and gain. Many children- girls and boys alike- are exploited every day, whether it be through pornographic material, sexual acts, child marriage or prostitution.

According to the Half The Sky Movement, “trafficking for sexual exploitation is one of the fastest–growing organized crimes, generating $28.7 billion each year.”

What does this mean for children? More and more children will be bought and sold, kidnapped and trafficked across even international boarders, abused countless times over and forced to perform sexual acts.

3. Illicit Activities

Illicit activities are crimes such as producing and/or trafficking drugs, shoplifting, stealing automobiles, theft and begging for money.

Children are forced or willing to get involved with drugs. For those who willingly get involved, it is for the belief that they will become wealthy and gain status. It is these children who are involved in the selling of narcotics that develop drug addictions.

Oftentimes, children are made to become beggars and earn money from passersby. If they do not earn enough throughout the day, they are typically beaten.

4. Work Harmful to Mind, Body and Spirit

Forced into child labor, children suffer mentally, emotionally and physically. ILO reported that child labor which involves domestic work, manufacturing, agriculture and construction are sectors of child labor that raise tremendous concern.

Around 60 percent of child laborers are in agriculture worldwide. Child labor streams mainly from poverty and many times in family farming. Though child labor is thought of only to be in foreign countries, it can be seen on farms in America.

Mining is becoming increasingly popular as a form of child labor. The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking reported that, “[Children are] forced to spend 10 or more hours a day in dark, cramped mines filled with poisonous chemicals… Children working in the gold mines face mercury poisoning; in coal mines, children inadvertently consume toxic coal dust…”

UN.GIFT also reported that over 32,000 children die per year as a result of working in unsafe conditions.

While many children are playing on playgrounds and catching fireflies on a warm summer night, there are those all around the world who are in bondage, in despair, in crisis, begging for help and a way out.

Juan Somavia, ILO Director- General, said, “A world without child labour is possible with the right priorities and policies…Driven by conscience, let’s muster the courage and conviction to act in solidarity and ensure every child’s right to his or her childhood. It brings rewards to all.”

– Kori Withers 

Sources: International Labor Organization 1, International Labor Organization 2, UN, Anti- Slavery International, Half The Sky Movement, War Child UK, United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking
Photo: The Guardian