TODAY -

Children shouldn't work in fields, but on dreams!

Ranjan K Baruah *



Every child has their right to education and safety. We are aware that child labour is one of the worst forms of violation of child rights. Child labour refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially or morally harmful.

It is work carried out to the detriment and endangerment of a child, in violation of international law and national legislation. It either deprives children of schooling or requires them to assume the dual burden of schooling and work. Worldwide 218 million children between 5 and 17 years are in employment among them, 152 million are victims of child labour; almost half of them, 73 million, work in hazardous child labour.

In absolute terms, almost half of child labour (72.1 million) is to be found in Africa; 62.1 million in the Asia and the Pacific; 10.7 million in the Americas; 1.2 million in the Arab States and 5.5 million in Europe and Central Asia. Among 152 million children in child labour, 88 million are boys and 64 million are girls.

Child labour is concentrated primarily in agriculture (71%), which includes fishing, forestry, livestock herding and aquaculture, and comprises both subsistence and commercial farming; 17% in Services; and 12% in the Industrial sector, including mining. As mentioned those who are not getting their rights and are involved in child labour do not go to school and have little or no time to play.

Many do not receive proper nutrition or care. They are denied the chance to be children. More than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour, illicit activities including drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the World Day against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. Each year on 12 June, the World Day brings together governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society, as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them.

The theme for this year is “Children shouldn't work in fields, but on dreams!” One of the major aims set for the ILO at its founding in 1919 was the abolition of child labour. Historically, the ILO's principal tool in pursuing the goal of effective abolition of child labour has been the adoption and supervision of labour standards that embody the concept of a minimum age for admission to employment or work .

We are talking about and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs adopted by the world leaders in 2015 (Target 8.7) calls on all to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of all forms of child labour by 2025 as an essential step to achieving decent work for all, full and productive employment and inclusive and sustained economic growth.

The situation is different in different countries and regions but the fact is the world is not free from child labour and it is one of our greatest failures. There are different programmes and schemes and projects carried out by government and civil society organisation but we are yet to make our world free from child labour.

Our children are our future and we must make sure that they get education and all rights so that they can become responsible citizens. As long as there is poverty, there might be children working but we must discourage it and make sure that they get education and other benefits. It is not impossible to make our country or the world free from child labour what we need is commitment and governments need positive political will.

As this year's theme suggests let our children dream and not work as they would bring many positive changes for all of us in near future.


(With direct inputs from UN/ILO publication )


* Ranjan K Baruah wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be contacted at bkranjan(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on 20 June, 2019.



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