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World Day Against Child Labor

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: ILO}

Child Labor

GENEVA  – Around 20 to 30 per cent of children in low income countries complete their schooling and enter the labor market by the age of 15, says a new International Labor Organization (ILO) report prepared for World Day against Child Labor. Most of these children were in child labor before.

The World Report on Child Labour 2015: Paving the way to decent work for young people  shows that young persons who were burdened by work as children are consistently more likely to have to settle for unpaid family jobs and are more likely to be in low paying jobs.

“Our new report shows the need for a coherent policy approach that tackles child labor and the lack of decent jobs for youth together. Keeping children in school and receiving a good education until at least the minimum age of employment will determine the whole life of a child. It is the only way for a child to acquire the basic knowledge and skills needed for further learning, and for her or his future working life,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said.

To take up this challenge, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize co-Laureate Kailash Satyarthi who will address the ILO’s International Labour Conference on 11 June , calls for a change of mindsets: “When we consider our biological children, we think that they are born to become doctors, engineers, and professors – the whole world is for them. But when we talk about other children, we think, OK, they are poor children, let them work, we will slowly help them. Let us consider all children our children.”

Main findings

The report addresses the twin challenges of eliminating child labor and ensuring decent work for young people. Based on a 12 country survey, it examines the future careers of former child laborers and early school leavers.

The main findings of the report are that:

  • Prior involvement in child labor is associated with lower educational attainment, and later in life with jobs that fail to meet basic decent work criteria;
  • Early school leavers are less likely to secure stable jobs and are at greater risk of remaining outside the world of work altogether;
  • A high share of 15-17 year olds in many countries are in jobs that have been classified as hazardous or worst forms of child labor; and
  • Those in hazardous work are more likely to have left school early before reaching the legal minimum age of employment.

The report recommends early interventions to get children out of child labor and into school as well as measures to facilitate the transition from school to decent work opportunities for young people.

Particular attention should be given to the 47.5 million young people aged 15-17 in hazardous work and the special vulnerabilities of girls and young women.

“National policies should be directed towards removing children and young people from hazardous jobs and, of course, towards removing the hazards in the workplace,” Ryder said.

The ILO’s most recent estimate is that 168 million children are in child labor, with 120 million of them aged 5-14. The report underscores the critical importance of intervening early in the life cycle against child labor.

World Day events around the world

To mark the World Day theme No to Child Labour – Yes to Quality Education, hundreds of events will be organized in some 55 countries on 12 June . In Geneva, Kailash Satyarthi and the First Lady of Panama, Ms. Lorena Castillo de Varela will join a panel discussion with delegates attending the International Labor Conference.

The event in Geneva will also draw attention to a new campaign for ratification of the ILO’s Forced Labour Protocol  which was adopted by the International Labor Conference in June 2014. The ILO has estimated that as many as 5 million children are trapped in slavery-like conditions, and the vast majority of these lack access to basic education.

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