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Updated On: Sunday, 19 August 2018
Development Issues

Ending Child Labor

Content by: South-South News

14 June 2018, New York, USA | South-South News — Marking the World Day Against Child Labor celebrated on June 12, the Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi said that there is still a lot to be done to stop child labor, “if the world can reach out to Mars, why can’t we reach out to every single child who is in danger?”

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), in 2018 there were nearly 152 million child laborers worldwide; 73 million were working at jobs that put their health, their safety and their development at risk.

“Today we know that how the number of child laborers has decreased from more than 250 million to 152 million,” said Satyarthi, “We have also seen that larger number of children were able to go to schools. We have also seen progress in restoring child rights and human rights in many countries during these 20 years. So a lot has been achieved but it is not enough. If the world can reach out to Mars, why can’t we reach out to every single child who is in danger?”

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Global March Against Child Labor, which Satyarthi is the founder of the movement. The Global March culminated with children marching into the United Nations Assembly Hall during the 86th International Labor Conference of the ILO in June 1998, and resulted in the adoption of the international labor standard ILO Convention on the worst forms of child labor.

Satyarthi, said, “I understood through my fight against child labor in India and South Asia that it is not an isolated problem of one or another country. It has to be tackled globally. So on one hand we had to build a strong social movement, but on the other hand we had to have strong laws. And our demand was ILO Convention Against the Worst Forms of Child Labor.”

Antsirabe is a town of 200,000 inhabitants south of Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo. It attracts many poor families who send their children there to work in dangerous jobs, for example in brickyards, or as domestic workers.

ILO set up a program that helps child domestic workers change their status and gain access to training. The program is run in close cooperation with the authorities and the Labor Inspectorate.

Despite their limited means for action, the inspectors conduct daily visits to the town’s cheap eateries.

It doesn’t take them long to come across a case of child labor. Despite the owner’s confused explanations, it is clear to the inspectors that this 12-year-old girl is not going to school and spends her days working in the restaurant.“She’s afraid of the repercussions, so she’s not telling the truth about her real situation. So we encourage children to know their rights and encourage the employer to obey the law,” said Dera Randrianarivony, a labor inspector.

In partnership with a local association, Sarobidy, the ILO program has provided skills training to almost 200 children, informed 2,000 others about their rights and removed 2,500 from their jobs as child laborers.

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