June 12 marks World Day Against Child Labour. In 2002, this event was initiated by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in a bid to call greater attention to the global issue of child labour and work towards its eradication. In the past two decades, there has been a decrease in the prevalence of child labour. In 2000, 246 million children were engaged in labour but by 2016, the number had fallen to 152 million. However, that is still 152 million too many. Until the issue is eliminated, it is crucial to continue raising awareness of child labour.
What is Child Labour?
Defined as work that a child is too young for, along with work that puts their safety and well-being in harm’s way, child labour continues to be pervasive in numerous industries worldwide. Today, about one in 10 of all children around the world are involved in child labour. Most of the children in labour, however, are in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, with a majority finding themselves working in agriculture. In Thailand, 13% of children, or approximately 1.3 million, are already working. Their jobs range from fishing, manufacturing garments, construction, and selling products on the street. Even more alarmingly, child labour leaves children more vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking.
Which Rights Does Child Labour Violate?
Child labour is, undoubtedly, in violation of a host of human rights. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees fundamental child rights to ensure their safety and welfare. Article 6, for instance, contends that children have an “inherent right to life” whilst Article 30 affirms that they are deserving of “rest and leisure.” Perhaps most significant in relation to child labour, however, is Article 32. It asserts that children must be “protected from economic exploitation,” which includes being forced to work, especially under unsafe conditions. The environments under which children in labour are subject evidently infringe on child rights.
What Can We Do to End Child Labour?
One way to tackle child labour is by improving children’s access to education. Providing children with quality education at a young age ensures that they have a stable foundation for their development whilst increasing their chances of completing their schooling. Education should also be affordable; when the costs of books and uniforms are waived, research has shown that children are less likely to drop out of school, thereby decreasing their likelihood of working at a premature age. Moreover, another way to tackle child labour and save the environment is to shop ethically and be conscious about where your products are from. The Department of Labor issues the list of goods produced by child labour or forced labour each year. In 2020, pornography, sugarcane, garments, and shrimp were produced by child labour in Thailand.
At Center For Girls Foundation (CFG), children’s well-being is a top priority. CFG has launched initiatives aimed at guaranteeing children’s safety such as the Project to Empower the Community and Develop Local Mechanisms for the Protection of Children and Child Protection in Schools. By contributing and donating to CFG, you can help shape a safer community and brighter future for vulnerable children in Northern Thailand.
– Isabelle Amurao
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