News / Europe

Hundreds of Millions of Children Labor to Survive

Pakistani Naginah Sadiq, 5, who works in a brick factory, rests on a bed next to her sister Shahzadi, 8 months, on World Day Against Child Labor, on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, June 12, 2012.
Pakistani Naginah Sadiq, 5, who works in a brick factory, rests on a bed next to her sister Shahzadi, 8 months, on World Day Against Child Labor, on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, June 12, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
GENEVA - The International Labor Organization (ILO) is urging nations to step up the fight against child labor.The ILO is issuing a call to action to mark the 10th anniversary of the annual World Day Against Child Labor on June 12.

More than half of the 215 million child laborers are exposed to slavery and involvement in armed conflict, which the International Labor Organization calls the worst forms of child labor.  

About five million children, out of 21 million people globally, are caught in forced labor, including commercial sexual exploitation and debt bondage.  

Senior technical specialist Patrick Quinn of the ILO international program for the elimination of child labor says the worst forms of child labor include work that is dangerous to the health, safety and moral development of children.  

He says hazardous work, such as mining, agriculture and domestic service is the largest part of the worst forms of child labor.  

"The ILO standard on worst forms of child labor was established because we recognize that for many countries, there is a development issue in tackling child labor. We need to improve education. We need to improve social protections systems so that poor families do not have to send poor children to school. We need to provide employment for adults," said Quinn. "So there is an issue about development and tackling the root causes of child labor because fundamental[ly] behind the issue of child labor is poverty -- individual family poverty and societal poverty."  

A plan was adopted in The Hague in 2010 to eliminate the worst forms of child labor by 2016. Quinn agrees this target is likely to be missed, especially at a time when countries are cutting back on social provisions.

But he says the challenges are enormous -- not impossible. During the past decade, he notes child labor has been reduced by 20 percent.  

He says the greatest progress is seen in Latin American countries, where poor families have been provided with financial incentives to send their children to school.

"But not just in Latin America, we have seen also in some countries in Africa. For example, where governments take steps to abolish school fees, immediately we see a large increase in the numbers of children in school.  It is clear that costs are a barrier to many families sending their children to school. So these kind[s] of important policy initiatives are key to tackling the problem," Quinn stated. 

Although Kenya, Tanzania and a few other countries have abolished school fees, Quinn says overall the picture of child labor in Africa is not very optimistic. While some progress is being made on the national level, he says child labor in Africa as a whole is increasing.

The International Labor Organization reports the greatest number of child laborers is in South East Asia, but Africa has the highest percentage of those employed in this age group.

The International Labor Organization is calling for nations to strengthen laws aimed at protecting children from exploitation. It also calls for giving all children a quality education, providing poor families with social protection and ensuring adults opportunities for work.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs