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Stories of #GoodChange

June 2020

Protecting children from child labour is so important, now more than ever!

Child labour affects more people than you realise. While the numbers have gradually dropped with each passing year, an alarmingly high rate of child labour still exists. 

According to the United Nations, around 218 million children aged between 5 and 17 years work full-time. These children do not attend school, nor do they have the luxury of playing. And more often than not, malnutrition often plagues them. 

In response these concerning issues, the United Nations established the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with intentions of eradicating child labour. Numerous international law conventions and treaties have also been made with similar purposes, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

World Day Against Child Labour

The United Nations classifies child labour under three categories:

1.       The unconditional worst forms of child labour, which are internationally defined as                        slavery, trafficking, debt bondage and other forms of forced labour

2.       Labour performed by a child who is under the minimum age specified for that kind of                  work, and that is thus likely to impede the child’s education and full development

3.       Labour that jeopardises the physical, mental or moral well-being of a child, otherwise                  known as “hazardous work”

There is a common misconception of child labour only existing in developing nations. This is false. 

Cases of child labour still exist all across the world—even in developed countries such as the United States. Currently, an estimated 134.2 million cases exist in Africa, Asia and the Pacific regions. 

Additionally, contrary to popular belief, Bangladesh actually racks up the longest hours of children labour at 32.04hours per week in 2013. 

Furthermore, statistics also show that about 71% of child labour exists in agricultural contexts, with 17% in services and 12% in the industrial sector. 

With such concerning data, the United Nations and ILO decided to dedicate a day to raise awareness on child labour. This is how the World Day Against Child Labour was born.

Good Neighbours Australia | World Day Against Child Labour

The 12th of June is the official date for the World Day Against Child Labour. The theme for 2020 is to ‘Protect Children from Child Labour, now more than ever!’

In acknowledgement of COVID-19, this year the event will be a virtual campaign in collaboration with the Global March Against Child Labour as well as the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture (IPCCLA). 

Many activities are scheduled for World Day Against Child Labour. A joint paper by the ILO and UNICEF on the impact of Covid-19 on child labour will be released, where discussions will be live-streamed at 4.30pm (Geneva time). Several videos have also been uploaded on the ILO website here.

In an effort to help reduce child labour cases, Good Neighbours also has initiated several programs. In 2019, Good Neighbours’ worldwide Hope Letter Campaign has introduced Mina’s story. Check out her story shared by our sister organisation, Good Neighbors Canada. 

At just nine-years-old at the time, Mina was raising her seven-year-old brother while working at a tobacco factory in Bangladesh. 

They lived in a shared house in the slums, together with their parents and five other families. Mina’s dream is to become a teacher, but her situation meant she could not receive an education. 

Children in Bangladesh engaged in many different forms or child labour, and are trapped in the poverty cycle. 

Our worldwide campaigns aim at breaking this cycle of poverty by targeting the root of child labour. Good Neighbours’ community development projects in more than 40 partner countries help children and families at risk get out of the trap. 

The donations raised from several fundraising offices including Australia are pooled into a project fund, where tailored projects are conducted to resolve the issue at a community level. 

Here at Good Neighbours Australia, we hope that you will join us in celebrating the World Day Against Child Labour. We stand by our belief that every child deserves an education and fulfil their dreams.