Millions of children around the world are forced into labour. Often, they face hazardous work conditions, are enslaved, or are subjected to human trafficking. Every child in this position loses his or her childhood. They also lose the chance of proper education and better job opportunities. People should come forward to raise awareness about this global issue. It is necessary for all the world’s leaders to make a commitment to eliminate all types of child labor, particularly the worst.
In 2002, “The International Labor Organization (ILO)” started the “World Day Against Child Labor” to focus attention on the global extent of child labor and the action to eradicate it. On 12th June in every year, the World Day brings together all the governments, employers and workers’, organizations, civil societies, and millions of people from around the world to highlight the commitment of reducing child labor.
Causes of Child Labour
No parent wants to send their child to work or wishes them harm. However, there are many underlying causes that create the perfect storm for child labor, poverty being the top leading one. Often, parents are formidable and cannot cover basic needs, such as food, clothes, shelter, on their own. This forces them to send their children to work, particularly the elder ones. They feel that there is no other option, and informal economies are happy to accept the cheap labor. Addressing poverty is the first step to increase child labor. In certain cultures, there is also a question of tradition. Instead of giving priority, parents send their children to work.
A lack of protection can also lead to child labour. This applies to orphans, children in the foster care system, or those who do not have a strong family to watch out for them. They may even end up working as slave laborers or being trafficked. Stronger protection networks and laws are essential to eliminate this worst type of child labor.
Current Global Child Labour Laws
Since its prologue, the International Labor Organization has 23 conventions, or laws, within its constitution that regulate the labor of adults and children. These laws assimilate the minimum age restriction, protection against forced labor, holiday time granted, conditions of the workforce, safety standards, protection against pregnant women, and night time working conditions. Within these conditions are stricter standards set for the safety of children. Most of the conventions and recommendations for child labor fall under Article 3, The Elimination of child labor and protecting children and young persons.
The first convention added is the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 and states that a person under 18 cannot work in a facility that may jeopardize their safety, health, or morals. This work comprises mining, operation of heavy machinery, and heavy manual labor. Children ages 13–15 can perform light work as long as the work brings none harm or hinder their education and children under 13 are confined from working. The Worst Forms of Child Labor conventions mandates that persons under 18 cannot be employed in work as slaves, prostitution, pornography, or drug trafficking. The Medical Examination conventions hold that a child under 18 cannot work in an industrialized or non-industrialized position without being deemed fit by a medical professional. Person’s under the age of 18 may not work underground such as in a mine. Persons aged 18–21 must be overseen when working in an underground environment. Last, persons over the age of 14 but younger than 18 must have at least 12 hours off, 14 is engaged in school, and these hours must include the hours of 10 PM through 6 AM. These conventions and recommendations are in place to provide children with a danger-free working environment and promote their education. Since its beginning in 1919, 186 countries have become members of ILO. As a member of the ILO, countries vow to keep the minimum conventions held in the ILO constitution.
Child Labour in Bangladesh
Child labor in Bangladesh is very common, with 4.8 million or 12.6% of children aged 5 to 14 in the workforce. Out of the child laborers engaged in the workforce, 83% are employed in rural areas and 17% are employed in urban areas. In Bangladesh, child labour can be found in agriculture, poultry breeding, fish processing, the garment sector, and the leather industry, and in shoe production. Also, children are involved in jute processing, the production of candles, soap, and furniture, salt industry, the production of asbestos, bitumen, tiles and ship breaking.
Solutions to Stop Child Labor and create awareness about Child Rights
This is high time to know the solutions to stop child labour and create awareness about child rights. In Bangladesh, this social problem is increasing gradually. So different laws and regulations should be enhanced to reduce child labor with a view of protecting children from work. Bangladesh government is trying to remove child labour by taking some steps –
—Recognizing child workers
Recognizing child workers is severe for any kind of planning. However, it does not easily identify all child workers in the country. So organized sections should be taken up immediately and efforts should continue from government, NGO’s and social activities.
—Enhancing the educational program
Formal and informal education by full-time and part-time schools, vocational training activities may be enhanced. Obligatory primary education should be ensured and ongoing special stress on female education should be continued.
The government must take actions to strict inducement measures to stop child labor and to make school attendance affordable. The inducement machines should be strengthened in terms of manpower and logistic support.
Existing child labor laws need to be served effectively. The official machinery should be well trained and sensitized about child labor, relevant laws and regulations and need for penalizing the offenders.
—Assistance to families
As extreme poverty compels children to go to work, policy measures to reduce the pressure of poverty on the poor household should be adopted. Besides, some form of social assistance perhaps is provided by professional social workers, voluntary organizations or even religious bodies. Here, health care, income and employment generation schemes, credit facilities and integrated poverty alleviation and community development services should be considered.
—Motivational and publicity campaign
Awareness can arise through national campaigns, public meetings, media publicity, workshops, community forums, etc.
Displacement of child labor is followed by specific rehabilitation programs.
—Collections and propagation of information
Collection and dissemination of information of children are essential for taking any initiative. The government should develop a database of child labor in the country.
—Replacing working children
Replacing working children with unemployed family members should be deliberated.
With the help of the government, we, the JAAGO Foundation are working hard from the past 12 years for eradicating child labour by reducing poverty. And also trying to create a sustainable nation by ensuring quality education through ICT to the underprivileged children in the remote areas of Bangladesh. Now, we are operating 12 schools and supporting thousands of students all over the country. Through the “Sponsor A Child” educational program, monthly we collect BDT 2000 from a sponsor parent for each of the student, which is the cost of the weekly nutritious meals, basic medications, logistical supports like – books, notebooks, school uniform, school socks, and school bag for a JAAGO child.
To create a society – free of exploitation, discrimination, and violence through your small contribution to the underprivileged children, you can also be one of the great supporters of eradicating child labor and poverty. Let’s be a changemaker of our society by ensuring our children’s future and fulfilling their dreams!
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Sponsor the monthly education cost of an impoverished Bangladeshi child with less than 1 US $ a day and help bring a meaningful difference in both of your lives!BE A SPONSOR