Thursday, 12 June 2008

World Day against Child Labour: New ITUC action guide

On the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour today, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is launching a new Mini Action Guide on Child Labour, providing campaigning tools and direct support to trade unions to fight against child labour. According to the ILO, some 218 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are involved in child labour. Many of these children work long hours, often in dangerous conditions. The guide highlights the fact that some 69% of working children are involved in agriculture compared with 9% in industry. The Asia-Pacific region accounts for the largest number of child labourers with 122 million, followed by sub-Saharan Africa (49.3 million) and Latin America and the Caribbean (5.7 million). With 26%, the proportion of children engaged in economic activities in sub-Saharan Africa is currently the highest of any region in the world. Child labour can also be found in many industrialised countries.

The World Day Against Child Labour this year is emphasizing education as a key factor in the eradication of child labour. The day will be marked around the world with activities to raise awareness that education is the right response to child labour. Around 72 million children of primary school age are not enrolled in school. There are also many who are enrolled but who do not attend regularly or who drop out. Good quality education and training is necessary for children if they are to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in the labour market; such education and training is also important to economically and socially excluded children and youth so that they can lift themselves out of poverty. Wherever children miss out on education, poverty will continue from one generation to the next, explains the mini guide.

To fight against child labour, the guide gives advice on issues such as using collective bargaining, participation in tripartite dialogue, promoting international labour standards, joining the Global March Against Child Labour and the Global Trade Union Alliance to Combat Forced Labour and Trafficking, and campaigning for the ratification and implementation of the ILO Conventions No. 138 and No.182.

The ITUC is closely linking its work in the Global March Against Child Labour and the newly-emerging Global Trade Union Alliance to Combat Forced Labour and Trafficking. The ILO estimates that up to 50% of all forced labour victims worldwide are children. Increasingly, children are becoming forced child labourers as a result of human trafficking. Children in in-house domestic work, in rural agriculture or isolated estates, in mining, brick making, textiles and fisheries are particularly vulnerable to this “worst form of child labour” as specified in ILO Convention 182.

For more information on IPEC (International Program on the Elimination of Child Labour) click >>> here.
To read the full ITUC mini action guide click >>> here.

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