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World Day against Child Labour 2019: ILO’s 2019 theme, ‘Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams’

Get details about World Day against Child Labour, ILO’s 2019 theme, ILO’s Convention against Child Labour, International Labour Organization, Child Labour in India.

Jun 12, 2019 13:00 IST
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12 June 2019- World Day against Child Labour

The World Day against Child Labour is being observed across the world today, on June 12, 2019. The theme of the day this year is, 'Children should not work in fields but on dreams'.

The World Day against Child Labour was established by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. The day brings together governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society as well as millions of people to highlight the plight of child labourers and measures to help them.

World Day against Child Labour 2019

This year, the International Labour Organization is celebrating 100 years of advancing social justice and promoting decent work. The day looks towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7 set by the international community calling for an end to child labour in all its forms by 2025.

Various discussions and debates will take place on the day, which will focus on major transformations being experienced in the world of work, whether the result of technology, environmental or demographic and what this means for the youngest in society.

The discussions will also focus on accelerating action towards SDG Target 8.7, entailing the ratification and implementation of fundamental ILO labour standards and compliance in law and practice.

This year marks 20 years since the adoption of the ILO’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182).  The convention is close to getting universal ratification with only a few countries still to ratify it. Hence, World Day against Child Labour 2019 calls for full ratification and implementation of Convention No. 182 and of the ILO’s Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) . The day also aims to encourage ratification of the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, which protects both adults and children.

What is Child Labour?

The ILO describes the term child labour as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.

All work is, however, not child labour, the ILO states that activities that contribute to the positive development of children like doing their share of household chores or earning pocket money in summer is not considered as child labour.

Child labour, in particular, refers to work that:

Is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children

Interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school, obliging them to leave school prematurely or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.

Despite efforts to curb child labour, around 152 million children across the world are still in child labour. Though it occurs in almost all sectors, 7 out of every 10 of these children are working in agriculture.

In India, around, 12 percent of all children are engaged in some form of child labour, as per the data released by UNICEF in 2017. Hundreds of children drop out of school every year to help their parents earn a livelihood.

Many children are also forced to work in dangerous situations by organised crime rackets.

Following is the difference between 'worst forms of child labour' and 'hazardous child labour':

Worst Forms of Child Labour

Hazardous Child Labour

The worst forms of child labour are defined by ILO Convention No. 182 as all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.

Hazardous child labour or hazardous work is defined as ILO as the work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.

 

It involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities – often at a very early age.

It includes the work which exposes children to physical, psychological or sexual abuse.

It includes the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances.

It includes work with dangerous machinery, equipment and tools, or which involves the manual handling or transport of heavy loads or underground work, work under water or at dangerous heights or in confined spaces.

It also includes the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties.

It also includes work in an unhealthy environment which may, for example, expose children to hazardous substances, agents or processes, or to temperatures, noise levels, or vibrations damaging to their health.

It also includes the work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.

It includes work under particularly difficult conditions such as work for long hours or during the night or work where the child is unreasonably confined to the premises of the employer.

Whether a particular form of “work” can be called “child labour” depends on the child’s age, the type and hours of work performed, the conditions under which it is performed and the objectives pursued by individual countries. The answer varies from country to country, as well as among sectors within countries.

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