World Day Against Child Labor
The International Labor Organization (ILO) launched the first World Day Against Child Labor in 2002 to highlight the many abuses suffered by working children. The goal of this day, which takes place on June 12 each year, is to help create and sustain the global movement against child labor. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), combating child labor and exploitation is one of the most urgent challenges of our time. In 2007, more than 200 million children work around the world, they are forced to do so because their survival and that of their families depend on it. These children perform tasks that harm their mental, physical and emotional development.
What is child labor?
Not all tasks children do are work. For example, helping parents at home, in the family business under certain conditions, earning a little pocket money outside of school hours or during school holidays are not considered child labor tasks. . On the other hand, the concept of “child labor” is the set of activities which deprive children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity and which harm their education, their health, their physical and mental development.
Here are some examples of very risky situations and tasks that should never be done by children but which are nevertheless regularly assigned to them:
- The preparation, handling and application of toxic pesticides
- The use of dangerous and sharp tools
- Working in extreme temperatures
- Driving powerful agricultural vehicles and heavy machinery
- Too busy working hours
Most child labor: agriculture
Globally, the majority of children work in the agricultural sector. This sector employs 132 million girls and boys aged 5 to 14, representing 70% of all working children worldwide. These children help produce the food and drinks we consume: grains, cocoa, coffee, fruit, sugar, palm oil, rice, tea, tobacco and vegetables, animal breeding, etc. Agriculture is precisely one of the most dangerous sectors and even more so for children.
On the other hand, tasks that are adapted to the child’s age and do not interfere with their schooling or leisure activities can be considered an integral part of a normal life in the countryside.
A breath of hope
The International Labor Organization has set itself the goal of gradually eliminating all forms of child labor worldwide, making hazardous work for children a priority. Strategies to achieve this focus on reducing poverty, because parents who are offered a real choice prefer their children not to work and to live out their childhood. To reduce child labor, the ILO promotes decent work opportunities for parents and attempts to improve school facilities to help access education. In addition, the ILO fights to enforce laws: several countries have laws protecting children against work and exploitation but they are sometimes ignored or not enforced.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a legal contract that governments sign to promise to protect the rights of all children. The Convention states that every child has the right to education, play and real protection against exploitation and work.
National Children’s Day
On the occasion of June 10, “National Children’s Day”, and June 12, “International Day Against the Worst Forms of Child Labor”, UNICEF applauds the ratification by the Haitian Parliament of Conventions 138 and 182.
Port au Prince, June 8, 2007 – UNICEF applauds the signature by the Executive Power followed by the ratification, on May 15, unanimously by Parliament Ha