“Human Rights and Social Justice…Let’s End Child Labour”
(in observance of the World Day against Child Labour)
Report by Devindree Pillay
Monday, April 23, 2012
In 2002, the International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the World Day against Child Labour to focus world attention on the urgent need to eradicate child labour. This year, under the theme, “Human Rights and Social Justice… Let’s End Child Labour”, the Day will focus on the right of all children to be protected from child labour as well as from other violations of fundamental human rights.
According to the ILO, the term “child labour” is often defined as “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and which is harmful to physical and mental development”. It also includes work which is socially or morally dangerous to children and deprives them of the opportunity to attend school.
Whether a particular form of “work” can be called “child labour” is dependent upon the child’s age, the type and hours of work performed, and the conditions under which it takes place.
ILO’s most recent global estimate indicates that there are currently 215 million boys and girls throughout the world engaged in work that deprives them of adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms. Of these children, more than half are exposed to the worst forms of child labour, often causing long term damage to their lives. It includes work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour as well as illicit activities such as drug trafficking and prostitution.
This Briefing examined the challenges in detecting child labour as well as the ways in which child labour acts an impediment to children’s rights and as a barrier to development. It also looked at the role of employers in the global fight against child labour.