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World day against child labour is a hard reminder of our times

Many of us are likely to remember our first jobs in a cafe, or a shop during our mid to late teens. It felt good, independent; all grown up. But for too many children across the world, their first job means heavy and physically exhausting physical labour at a much younger age.

World Day Against Child Labour is celebrated globally and marked by the UN as a reminder to protect children from child labour. Now and forever.

This year's international day focuses on the impact of the current global crisis on child labour. As stated by the UN, "The COVID-19 health pandemic and the resulting economic and labour market shock are having a huge impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. Unfortunately, children are often the first to suffer. The crisis can push millions of vulnerable children into child labour."

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The good

Awareness is rising, even during a global crisis and lockdown

In light of the unique circumstance the world is currently in, this year's international day will take place across a virtual campaign – making sure no one is unable to take part in the many activities, petitions, calls for awareness and educational programmes being put in place. World Day Against Child Labour has been organised through a joint effort between with the Global March Against Child Labour and the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture (IPCCLA).

June 12, which marks the day, will also see the publishing of an impact report on COVID-19's effects on child labour, created as a joint venture between ILO-UNICEF.

Make sure to take part in whatever way you can right now, and remember that each and every one of our participations makes a difference.

The bad

Lack of opportunity is keeping child labour in place

Close to one in ten of all children the world over are currently under child labour, which occurs in almost all sectors, yet seven out of every ten of these children are working in agriculture.

Target 8,7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals saw the world leaders agree to end all forms of child labour by 2025, and while the total number has indeed seen a decline since 2000, the reduction of children going into labour has massively slowed down over the coming years.

Tackling child labour for good not only means getting the law of countries worldwide behind us, but boosting access to education and therefore expanding opportunities for generations to come. In an interview with The World Labour Organisation, children's rights trainer and former child labourer herself Molly Namirembe, from Uganda, shares that being a child labourer has defined her entire life and who she is now. "It is all I remember from my childhood" she shares, telling us that she still suffers from backache from her hard physical work as a child picking tea.

Children's rights around the world can and will directly support the call to end child labour. Are you ready to support the cause?


Volunteer with SPARC to promote children’s rights in Pakistan

by Yair Oded

SPARC work across Pakistan to defend and advocate for rights and safety of children. Check out their volunteer opportunities.
On FairPlanet
child labour zimbabwe

Child labour in Zimbabwe’s tobacco and gold industries

by Cyril Zenda

In early April, Human Rights Watch published a damning report on child labour and others human rights abuses that are rife in the Zimbabwean tobacco industry.

Child abuse and modern slavery in Bosnian public care home for disabled children

by Katarina Panić

A boy with the bruise on his face is sitting on the floor between two beds. He wears a straitjacket and his leg is tied to a radiator. Another one is sitting on the bed. His legs are free but his hands are tightly tied in front of him with tangled fabrics. One is laying on the bed with hands tied behind his back and his leg tied to the bed. The youngest one is sitting on the bed and crying. He wears a straitjacket and his leg is tied to the bed.
cocoa ghana child labour

West Africa cocoa pricing model should inspire an end to child labour

by Bob Koigi

Ghana and Ivory Coast’s move to set a minimum price for cocoa beans could help reduce child labour, though it will not be enough on its own.

World leaders vow to end child labour

by Jose Kalathil

At the 'Laureates and Leaders for Children' Summit-2016 held in New Delhi on Sunday, Nobel laureates Kailash Satyarthi, Tawakkol Karman of Yemen and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, First Lady of Panama and UNAIDS Special Ambassador for AIDS in Latin America Lorena Castillo de Varela, former prime minister of Australia Julia Gillard and Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Angel Gurria of Mexico vowed to eliminate child labour from the world and adopted a 'Will for Children.'
child labour congo

Mining minors: The pain of African child workers

by Bob Koigi

It is a heartrending story of tens of thousands of children involved in back breaking and hazardous mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Country focus

Mozambique is situated on the South-Eastern coast of Africa and has a population of 29.5 million citizens. In 1975 Mozambique gained independence from Portuguese rule and has since 1992 been batteling with a 16-year civil war. According to the BBC, "Tensions remain between the ruling Frelimo party and the opposition former rebel movement Renamo and corruption have become a major concern."

While Mozambique has seen some economic growth over the past few years, more than half of the country's population lives in poverty, despite the discovery of natural gas on its coast in 2011, which promised great economic positive change for the nation.

Despite cooperation efforts between Mozambique and South Africa, a significant part of wild animals, particularly rhinos, are still being killed by poachers who, driven by poverty, cross the border into the Kruger National Park situated just on the other side of Mozambiques porous south-west border.

The media in Mozambique operates both under the government and independently, although according to Reporters Without Borders, "Journalists who upset the authorities risk intimidation and threats and self-censorship is commonplace, says."

Child labour in Mozambique is still an issue, with 22.5 per cent of children age 5-14 working and 69.5 per cent of children age 5-14 going to school. A further 22.4 per cent are currently combining both work and school.