Tuesday, 12 June 2012

World Day Against Child Labour

Today is World Day Against Child Labour: June 12, 2012. 

In light of our Monthly Hero- Gen and her passion for making informed choices with which products she buys-chocolate, tea, coffee etc. I thought it would be a wonderful preface into this post about Child Labour. Why is it important to make informed choices? Because, the flip side of buying products made fair-trade is that children as young as five years old could be labouring long hours to harvest the ingredients used to make your delicious chocolate or caramel late instead of going to school.

There are many ways in which children end up in the slave trade. Sometimes it is because they have to work to pay off the debt of their parents, sometimes their families fall into tough times and so their parents sell them to employers for an up front payment to meet their families immediate needs or maybe because their parents died and they are the oldest of the remaining children and must now take on a careers role. There are multitudes of reasons as to why and how children fall into such bondage, no matter what the means the reality is that it is not ok. The anti -slavery organization provides the following information: "millions of children do extremely hazardous work in harmful conditions, putting their health, education, personal and social development, and even their lives at risk. These are some of the circumstances they face:
  • Full-time work at a very early age
  • Dangerous workplaces
  • Excessive working hours Subjection to psychological, verbal, physical and sexual abuse
  • Obliged to work by circumstances or individuals
  • Limited or no pay
  • Work and life on the streets in bad conditions
  • Inability to escape from the poverty cycle - no access to education

How Big Is The Problem?
*The International Labour
Organization (ILO) estimates
there are 246 million working
children aged between five
and 17.
*179 million are estimated to
work in the worst forms of
child labour – one in every
eight of the world’s five to 17
years olds.
* 111 million children under 15
are in hazardous work and
should be “immediately
withdrawn from this work”.
*8.4 million children are in
slavery, trafficking, debt
bondage and other forms of
forced labour, recruitment for
armed conflict, prostitution,
pornography and other illicit
*Child domestic work in the
houses of others is thought to
be the single largest employer
of girls worldwide.

What can we do?
  • Write a letter to your favourite retail chain this link provides an example letter of what you could write
  • View the online Products of Slavery poster which shows you what products are produced where that are usually under child labour
  • Check out this Fair Trade Website which allows you to not only learn more about fair trade but what products are manufactured under fair working conditions.
  • Check out this website to learn more about slavery and what we can do to be a part of the solution
What is something you can commit to doing to help put an end to Child Labour?

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