World Day Against Child Labour was started by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2002 to draw attention to the need for political will to combat the scourge of child labour.
According to the ILO there are currently over 168 million child labourers all over the world. That is, globally an average of one in ten children is being exploited. They work in industries as diverse as agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction, fishing, retail, transportation, food and beverage and even hospitality. The majority of child labourers are involved in hazardous work or work that poses a risk to their health and safety.
In Singapore we are fortunate enough to be in environment where children are not exposed to such exploitation. But as consumers we need to be cognizant that eliminating child labour must become a priority for each and every one of us. The Asia and Pacific region alone has the largest number of child labourers at 78 million or 9.3% of the total child population.
ASEAN countries have all ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and ILO Convention on the Worst Forms Of Child Labour No: 182. The ILO Convention outlines the types of child exploitation that we must eliminate immediately because they represent the most grievous violations. These include slavery, child prostitution and pornography, the use of children in drug trafficking activities and for work that harms the health and safety of children. As many of these activities are trans-border in nature, ASEAN must work collaboratively to protect each child from any exploitation.
This year World Day Against Child Labour focuses on extending social protection to reach out to vulnerable groups. Poverty and loss of income remain the two main factors that force children into child labour. In 2012 the ILO adopted Recommendation No. 202 on National Social Protection Floors which outlines a plan for providing everyone with access to healthcare, income security and unemployment protection. In doing so we are also protecting children from being forced into child labour to supplement income for the family.
We must continue to advocate for greater protection of the rights of children, put in place policies that can combat poverty and income loss so as to reduce the vulnerability of children and ensure that those who violate the rights of children are held accountable.
Today your take a stand against child labour by joining the ILO Red Card To Child Labour campaign at: