Wednesday, June 12, 2013

World Day Against Child Labor

Today is the 11th annual World Day Against Child Labor. Established by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2002, the goal was to focus attention on the global extent of child labor and the actions and efforts needed to end it.

What is Child Labor?

Child labor is a form of work that is hazardous to the health and/or physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development of children and can interfere with the child’s education. The ILO states that approximately 246 million exploited children, ages 5-17, are involved in forced labor, which includes domestic servitude, exploitation in agriculture, service, and manufacturing industries, sexual exploitation, use of children in armed forces or drug trade, and child begging.

Fifteen Facts About Child Labor Trafficking.

  1. Child trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. Child and human trafficking is the second largest illegal enterprise in the world, next to drug trafficking.  It is estimated that in the next five years, human trafficking will outstrip drug trafficking.
  2. UNICEF estimates that in 2011, 150 million children aged 5-14 in developing countries were involved in child labor. Of these children, the ILO estimates that 60% work in agriculture.
  3. Around 115 million children are engaged in hazardous work, such as in the sex or drug trades
  4. Most child laborers are employed by their parents rather than in manufacturing or formal economy.
  5. Child labor accounts for 22% of the workforce in Asia, 32% in Africa, 17% in Latin America, and 1% in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and other first world nations.
  6. In the United States, 9% of farm workers are children.
  7. Currently the child labor problem in the U.S. is worse than in 1930; with approximately 5 million children in the work force. 
  8. Africa has over 65 million children employed in child labor; the highest percentage compared to their population. Asia has 114 million children employed in child labor, and Latin America and the Carribean region has 14 million child laborers.
  9. According to the Maplecroft Child Labor Index 2012 survey, 76 countries pose extreme child labor complicity for companies operating worldwide.
  10. The ten highest risk countries in 2012, ranked in decreasing order, were Myanmar, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Burundi, Pakistan, and Ethiopia.
  11. Of the major growing economies, the Philippines is 25th riskiest, India 27th, China 36th, Vietnam 37th, Indonesia 46th, and Brazil 54th.
  12. According to a 2009 Washington Times survey, the Taliban buys children as young as seven to be used as suicide bombers. The average price for these children is $7,000-14,000 dollars.
  13. The most human trafficking incidents in the United States occur in New York, California, and Florida.
  14. Family members will often sell their children or other family members into slavery; often the younger the victim, the higher to price.
  15. The global market of child trafficking was evaluated by UNICEF at over 12 billion dollars a year.

SC Digest

What is the Minimum Age for Work?

According to the United Nations (among member States ratifying Convention 138)
Hazardous work- Any work that is likely to jeopardize children’s physical, mental, or moral health should done by anyone under the age of 18
Basic minimum age- the minimum age for work should not be below the age for finishing compulsory schooling, which in most countries is generally 15.
Light work- Children between the age of 13 and 15 may do light work, as long as it does not threaten their health and safety, or hinder their education or vocational orientation and training.

stop child labor rally

What is being done about Child Trafficking?

Despite some positive enforcement developments, there are relatively few cases concerning child labor that make it to court. Only 1.5% of reports received by the CEACR (Committee of Experts on the Application on Conventions and Ratification) concerning child labor contain information on Court decisions.

                The ILO’s goal for this year is
  1. Legislative and policy reforms to encourage and foster the elimination of child labor in domestic work, the provision of decent work conditions, and increased protection to young workers in the domestic work sphere who have reached the legal working age.
  2. Ratify ILO Convention No. 189 concerning decent work for domestic workers and its implementation; ratification of ILO’s Child Labor Convention
  3. Increased Action to build the worldwide movement against child labor and to build the capacity of domestic worker organizations to address child labor

Organizations that provide help

If you think you have come into contact with a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.373.7888. The NHTRC can help you identify and coordinate with local organizations that protect and serve trafficking victims.


Jasmine Prokscha
Asian American Trafficking Outreach Project (AATOP) Program Development Intern 

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