Tuesday, June 12 is being celebrated as World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL). The annual event is used as an avenue to champion the rights of the child, while reminding countries around the world that children workers are illegal and the practice more than usually infringes on their basic needs of safety, education, protection and health care.
Here are a few interesting facts about WDACL.
- WDACL was launched as an official sanctioned holiday in 2002, by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the United Nations body that regulates the world of work. The initiative was seen as crucial at the time, as the ILO surmised that enough attention wasn’t being given and efforts being created to fight against child labour.
- The day brings member UN world governments, local authorities, civil society and international workers’ and employers’ organisations to point out the child labour problem and define the guidelines to help child labourers.
- According to data for the ILO, as of 2017, 152 million boys and girls throughout the world are involved in work that greatly deprives them of receiving an adequate education, health, leisure and other basic freedoms – in direct violation of their rights. Of these children, more than half are estimated to be exposed to the worst forms of child labour, some of which include work in extremely hazardous conditions, child pornography, slavery and other instances of forced labour, drug trafficking, prostitution as well as involvement in armed conflict (child soldiers).
- In Jamaica, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security estimated in 2016 that some 15,000 children are involved in child labour.
- According to Director of the Child Labour Unit in the Ministry of Labour Marva Pringle-Ximinnies, of that staggering number, around 7,500 Jamaican children were subjected to the worst forms of child labour in 2017.
- Elsewhere around the world, countries identified by the ILO as having serious challenges with child labour are Bangladesh, India, states in Central Africa, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka, where the average child labourer is forced to work in agriculture, mines, construction sites, factories, as well as unreasonably long hours on the streets, in restaurants or in domestic work.
- The ILO states in its 2018 report that hazardous child labour has been declining in the 12-17 age group, however the pace has been slowing. Today, the number of children aged 5-11 working in hazardous conditions has increased to 19 million.
- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are adopted by all UN member states since 2015, now include a renewed commitment to ending child labour. It is specifically mentioned in target 8.7, that calls on the global community to: “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers and by 2025, end child labour in all its forms.”