Saturday, August 08, 2020

Child Labour

The United Nations' labour agency hailed a "historic" milestone in the drive to end child labour after a global treaty to protect children from sexual exploitation, forced labour and armed conflict was signed by all member states. The number of child labourers worldwide is 152 million. About 70% of these children work in agriculture and nearly half are in hazardous jobs, it said.

The convention, which is legally binding on governments, was adopted in 1999 and has been ratified amid rising concerns that economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could reverse two decades of gains in combating child labour.
"Universal ratification is an historic first that means that all children now have legal protection against the worst forms of child labour," ILO director-general Guy Ryder said. "It reflects a global commitment that the worst forms of child labour, such as slavery, sexual exploitation, the use of children in armed conflict or other illicit or hazardous work...have no place in our society," he said.
Global progress in tackling child labour has slowed in recent years - particularly among children aged between five and 11, and the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to the first rise in the practice since 2000, several U.N. agencies warned in June. As the pandemic pummels the global economy, pushing millions of people into poverty, families may be under pressure to put their children to work for survival, campaigners say.
Yet we know from bitter experience that pledges must be turned into practice.
Indian labour laws ban the employment of anyone aged under 15 but children are permitted to support family businesses outside of school hours. This provision is widely exploited by employers and human traffickers, child rights campaigners say. Yet in  Tiruppur, southern India,  35 children were recently rescued from a spinning mill. The children were forced to work 14 hours-a-day and given no days off.
About 2,400 human trafficking cases were reported in India in 2018, with nearly half of the victims aged under 18, according to the latest available government crime data. 

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