World Day Against Child Labor
By admin June 10, 2015


June 12th marks the 14th year that the International Labor Organization (ILO) will support the World Day Against Child Labor. The ILO World Day promotes the focus of attention on the extent of child labor on a global scale and what actions need to be taken to reduce and eventually eliminate the practice of child labor. The World Day brings together governments, employers, workers organizations, civil society and millions of supporters around the world. Child labor is a global issue affecting children in all countries but especially those in developing countries.

The World Report on Child Labor, released Wednesday, state that almost 5 million children live in slavery-like conditions. Developing regions house the highest number of child laborers, with nearly 78 million child laborers in the Asia-Pacific region and 59 million in sub-Saharan Africa. The most recent global estimates that there are 120 million children between 5 and 14 that are involved in child labor. This number has decreased from 186 million in 2000. The UN contributes this decrease to an increased investment in access to primary education as part of the MDGs. However, even though the number of child laborers is decreasing still more than half are putting their health at risk by working in hazardous environments.

This year the World Day focus is on one of the main contributing factors to the prevalence of child labor. The UN estimates that nearly 170 million young people are deprived of education. A lack of access to education as a child is a main contributing factor to the prevalence of child labor. The first of these three main targets is the promotion of free, compulsory and quality education for all children to the minimum age for admission to employment and action to reach those presently in child labor. The second focus is to support new efforts to ensure that national policies on child labor and education are consistent and effective. The final focus is to increase support for policies that ensure access to quality education and investment in the teaching profession. By increasing the focus on the development of the education sector the ILO is articulating how important education is to the prevention of child labor.

Education is not the only contributing factor to affect the prevalence of child labor. Poverty, lack of decent work for adults and a lack of investment in social protection systems also greatly impact the number of children being brought into child labor. These factors make developing nations much more susceptible to having higher rates of child labor than developed states. A prime example of this is India, which is reported as having one of the highest number of child laborers in the world, according to the World Report on Child Labor. In fact, India has recently revised the law governing child labor to allow children below the age of 14 to work in a family business and the entertainment industry. Many critics had denounced this revision stating that it will promote families keeping children out of school in order to help the family businesses. In fact, many families with working children state that financial assistance to the family is one of the main reasons for employing their children.

The ILO is working alongside other INGOs and governments to shine light on the prevalence of child labor on a global scale. The organization is also working to provide solutions to the preventable causes that facilitate employers to employ young children. Through its continued action the ILO aims to eliminate the practice of child labor completely.


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