Child Labour in a Globalized World: A Legal Analysis of ILO Action

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Therefore, group identity is transformed into a capacity for mobilization and protagonism, from the local, national to international levels. A social movement is a form of collective action that calls for solidarity that shares a common goal. Its members recognize each other as equals, as active citizens with the same problems, because they come from a given social sector.

On the other hand, a movement indicates the existence of social conflict. They work on the local and national levels, without forgetting the essential opportunities that are provided by their organisation on the intercontinental and world levels, which is strengthening with time. Working Children have organised themselves in a social movement that is struggling to recover full democratic rights for children and adolescents.

For example, the Movements have a democratic process for electing both their delegates and their accompanying adults. Organised working children and adolescents have been promoting the importance of participation for the past 30 years, even tough the large international agencies are only just now recognising its significance.

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It is the main tool to bring about consciousness-raising regarding their situation. On the international level, the Working Children Movements began to coordinate their efforts of solidarity and collaboration in , in Kundapur meeting, India. The World Movement had faced and overcome many obstacles when they were able to meet again in in Milan. There they expressed the need to have a world meeting. This process continued in , when a small delegation of working children from the three continents was able to meet in Kundapur India.

During this preparatory meeting they defined the agenda and the main issues to be discussed during the 3rd World Meeting of Working Children Movements that tooked place in Siena in October, Representatives of all the movements discussed their major concerns and came up with a do-able plan of action along with the strategies for taking their movement forward and also for making their lives better.

A formal structure of the world movement of working children was also discussed and decided during this meeting. This is a particularly important date for the Movement, because ten years ago on the 9th of December, , in Kundapur India , a long process was started that led the organisations of working children to found the International Movement of Working Children.

An articulate response to this situation comes from the Latin American country projects initiated by the Salesians and the Jesuits, who have long cared for thousands of working children. Among the examples cited by the study, he noted the initiative of the American Jesuit Fr.

Each year, 1, underage workers are trained through professional courses in industrial mechanics, carpentry, bakery, and cosmetic laboratories, sewing and tailoring for girls, in addition to the daily accompaniment of some parents who support the soup kitchen and volunteer work on Sundays to help to build houses for the families who migrate from the Andes to the city.

Situated in the rural context of Ambato, the Salesian project operates a large farm as a learning area, educating parents not to mistreat their children. In the industrial metropolis of Guayaquil, the project especially aims at street children, prevention and management of addiction, while in cities such as Esmeraldas, the predominant issue is that of youth of African descent. In large cities such as Cuenca, there are shelters established as an alternative to the street, as well as training workshops with the support of the Salesian University, outdoor theater performances and marches to raise awareness in society on the rights of youth to a work with dignity, as recognized by the new Constitution of Bolivia, which in Article 61 permits work for boys, girls, and adolescents in the family environment and in the country write Vatinan FIDES Agency and Salesians at the United Nations.

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The conclusions he puts forward are indeed very consistent with theoretical considerations and research findings put forward by academics as well as statements issues by children and young people and outcome of consultation in other countries and continents. There are indeed serious concerns about the potentially very detrimental outcomes of a simplistic approach to child labour, focusing on narrow interpretations of their rights might bring to children and communities. The international community is starting to be fully aware of participation as a right for children, although not actively sought and not properly implemented.

What perhaps needs to be underlined is how much participation rights have to be coherently promoted to appropriately fulfill the other obligations states, organisations and more generally adults have towards working children and children in general under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Also very present, I believe, is the stress on respecting the dignity of human beings and children among them.

During the two weeks of the meeting, the participants did the tri-annual assessment of their actions and discussed the results of the impact on rights questionnaire, the study of the evaluation of their movements, statistics and they decided on new directions for their Movement. The media are present and broadcasted the ceremony through their aerials. The children of the company impressed the public with their great choreography and talent as budding great dancers. We the children organized the existing initiatives on basic education, the fight against migration and early child abuse.

We are advancing the 12 rights, again and again and sustainably among growing children. Our Income Generating Activities IGAs grow with the opportunities offered by micro-credit associations to their members. Our courses are developed with a variety of topics at the association.

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Child Labour in a Globalized World: A Legal Analysis of ILO Action

Our coordinators are structured in line to become interlocutors between the base and the authorities. Street and working children constitute one of the most disadvantaged section of society as a result of homelessness, lack of family support, struggle for survival, vulnerability and exclusion from basic services such as health and education. Most of them suffer from malnutrition, hunger, health problems, substance abuse, harassment by the city police and railway authorities, physical and sexual abuse and a general neglect from civil society. Many of them from extremely poor families live a hand to mouth existence, earning meager amounts in rag picking, shoeshine, portering, street vending, as domestic or casual worker in shops and restaurants.

They live their lives from day to day. Thus, it is important to provide opportunities for saving for their future and encouragement to do so by creating a safe place. Getting children off to a good start through appropriate early childhood development, care, and pre-primary education is especially important in this regard. It is a first step on which the success of following steps depends. Gender differences in recent progress are another concern.

The decline in child labour among girls was only half that of boys during the period from to and the gender gap in child labour involvement has therefore narrowed. The Global. The results, which show that girls shoulder disproportionate responsibility for household chores, also raise important gender concerns that merit consideration in child labour policies see Panel 2.

Why have we seen a slowdown over the last four years? While there is no single or simple answer to this question, it is worth noting that the overall slowdown is driven primarily by the slippage in progress witnessed in sub-Saharan Africa. Progress in the other regions continued over the period. The question becomes, therefore, mainly about the factors that have hindered progress in sub-Saharan Africa, despite the number of targeted policies implemented by governments in the region to combat child labour.


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It is likely that the lack of progress in the region relates primarily to broader economic, demographic, geopolitical, and climatic forces acting against governmental efforts, although this is a matter requiring further research. It is also among those affected by situations of state fragility and crisis, and by natural disasters and population displacements associated with global climate change, which in turn are known to heighten the risk of child labour.

African leaders recognize the size of the challenge they face and the African Union has initiated the process for the formulation of a comprehensive action plan for achieving SDG Target 8. Positive policy experiences in a number of African countries are also helping to guide efforts in the region moving forward. ReliefWeb has been the leading online source for reliable and timely humanitarian information on global crises and disasters since Learn more about ReliefWeb.

Many of you more than , subscribers at the last count! Published on 13 Nov — View Original. This report presents global estimates and trends for the period The following visualization, based on this source, presents the recent changes in the world-wide share of children ages in employment.

As we discuss below , there is lack of consensus regarding the appropriate ages for measuring child labor, particularly for the purpose of cross-country comparisons and global aggregates. The age bracket ranging from 5 to 17 years of age is common in many UN reports, but there is evidently a need to differentiate work at different ages, since children in their teenage years are less vulnerable to workplace abuse.

Other common age brackets are and years of age. The visualization below presents global trends, using estimates in two age brackets: and years of age. Unfortunately these global estimates are not broken down by gender, and are not available for other age brackets. However, the pattern is consistent with the remark made above: child labour has been going down in recent years.

Basu 5 uses this source to produce global labour force participation rates for children ages in the period The following visualization presents the corresponding trend using the data published in Basu While these estimates are informative about child labour, they cannot be linked directly to those of children in employment published by the ILO IPEC for the period due to issues of comparability; specifically, the IPEC and EPEAP estimates discussed above rely on different survey instruments covering a different set of countries, and break up the relevant population in different age brackets.

However, this source is generally believed to understate the extent of child labour, since data is not collected for work inside the household not even market work. Nonetheless, regardless of discrepancies between these two sources, the trends tell a consistent story: the share of economically active children in the world has been going down for decades.

Contrary to popular perception, most working children in the world are unpaid family workers, rather than paid workers in manufacturing establishments or other forms of wage employment. Schultz and Strauss 6 compile information from a number of different sources mostly country-specific datasets from national statistics offices—see the original paper for detailed sources to provide a picture of the industrial composition of economically active children. The following table numbered as table 5 in Schultz and Strauss presents their results. In almost every listed country, a majority of economically active children work in agriculture, forestry, or fishing.

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A point that is also worth emphasizing here is the lack of consistency in the age brackets for which child labour estimates are available. As it can be appreciated, the prevalence of child labour varies widely by country; for instance, the share of children in employment here defined in terms of being economically active for one hour a week was fifteen times larger in Uganda than in Turkey according to estimates. While most countries exhibit a downward trend, many countries are lagging. Switch to the map view in this chart to compare the level of child labour between countries. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region where child labour is most prevalent, and also the region where progress has been slowest and least consistent.

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Because of this it is informative to study child labour specifically when it is coupled with absence from school. The following visualization shows the share of children in employment who work only i. Again, there is wide variation across countries; while in Latin America the majority of children who are economically active also attend school, in sub-Saharan Africa this is not the case.

However, trends are encouraging on the whole, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where the problem is most acute. The next section exploring correlates, determinants and consequences of child labour, provides more information about the link between work and school attendance. The harmful consequences of child labor are partly determined by the intensity of work, and how it affects time allocation in other activities, such as playing or learning more on this below.

Hence, to understand child labor it is crucial to understand time allocation. The following chart shows, country by country, the weekly average of hours worked by children ages who are economically active. As we can see, average hours worked by children vary widely across countries, even at similar levels of GDP per capita. For example, while average incomes in Bangladesh and Nepal are roughly similar, in the former economically active children spend more than three times as much time working.

In fact, even across countries with similar labor force participation of children, differences in average hours worked are large.

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