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CHILD LABOUR WHAT IS THE SITUATION OF CHILD LABOURERS?

The ILO has recently estimated that some 246 million children aged 5-17 years are engaged in child labour around the world. Of these, some 179 million are caught in the worst forms of child labour. Roughly 2.5 million children are economically active in the developed economies, 2.4 million in the transition countries, 127.3 million in Asia and the Pacific, 17.4 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, 48 million in Sub-Saharan Africa and 13.4 million in the Middle East and North Africa. Workers under 18 face particular hazards. For example, in the US, the rate of injury per hour worked appears to be nearly twice as high for children and adolescents as adults. Similarly, a survey of 13 to 17 year olds in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden in 1998-99 revealed injury rates ranging from 3 to 19% of children working before or after school. In the developing countries, an ILO study found average rates of injury and illness per 100 children ranging from a low of 12% in agriculture (for boys) to a high of 35% (for girls) in the construction sector. Africa has the greatest incidence of economically active children: 41 percent of children in the continent are at work. On average, more than 30% of African children between 10 and 14 are agricultural workers. In Rwanda, there are an estimated 400,000 child workers. Of these, 120,000 are thought to be involved in the worst forms of child labour and 60,000 are child domestic workers. A recent survey by the Ministry of Public Service and Labour in Rwanda of children involved in prostitution in several large Rwandan cities found that 40% of child prostitutes had lost both of their parents, 94% lived in extreme poverty and 41% had never been to school.

In Tanzania, some 4,600 children are estimated to be working in small-scale mining. In Tanzania, children as young as eight years old dig 30 metres underground in mines for eight hours a day, without proper lighting and ventilation - constantly in danger of injury or death from cave-ins. The Government of Kenya has recently reported that 1.9 million children, between the ages of 5-17, are working children. Only 3.2% of these children have attained a secondary school education and 12.7% have no formal schooling at all. During the peak coffee picking season in Kenya, it has been estimated that up to 30% of the pickers are younger than 15. Fact Sheet International Labour Office InFocus Programme on Promoting the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work WORK IN FREEDOM According to the Government of Zambia, there are some 595,000 child workers in Zambia. Of these, 58% are 14 or younger and, thus, ineligible for any form of employment under the Employment of Young Persons Act. It has been estimated that as many as 5 million children in Zimbabwe between the ages of five and 17 years are being forced to work in Zimbabwe. An IPEC survey of children working in small scale mines in Madagascar showed that more than half (58%) were aged 12 or under, only a third had opportunities to learn skills and half came from families that were in a precarious economic situation with difficult living conditions. Some 120,000 children under the age of 18 are thought to have been coerced into taking up arms as child soldiers, or military porters, messengers, cooks or sex slaves in Africa. Between 10,000 and 15,000 children from Mali are working on plantations in Cte d'Ivoire.

Many of them are victims of child trafficking. It is estimated that 50,000 children are working as domestics in Morocco. In West Africa, an estimated 35,000 children are in commercial sexual exploitation. ILO ACTION - EXAMPLES The ILO International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) is the world's largest technical cooperation programme on child labour. Since its inception in 1992, IPEC programmes in more than 75 countries have had considerable impact in both removing hundreds of thousands of children from the workplace, raising general awareness of this problem and building the capacity of institutions with responsibility for child labour. In sub-Saharan Africa, 10 national programmes were launched or expanded in 2000-2001 including Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo and Benin. The objective of these programmes is the elimination of the worst forms of child labour, mainly in agriculture and the informal sector. ILO CONVENTIONS The ILO 's Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) has been ratified by 116 countries. Its aim is the effective abolition of child labour in those children under the age of completion of compulsory schooling or, in any case, under the age of 15 years. The ILO's Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182), ratified by 117 countries, focuses on the abolition of the worst forms of child labour for children under 18 years of age. OTHER RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS Other relevant international standards include: The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), outlining the economic, civil, cultural and social rights of children. Ratified by all UN member States except two, the CRC is monitored by the Committee on the Rights of the Child; and, the Optional Protocols to the CRC (2000) extending CRC obligations relating to the sale of children, child prostitution, child pornography and to the involvement of children in armed conflict. Asia: Child labor in Asia is a huge burden. But we believe in the resources of Asia. We also believe in the vitality and wisdom of child workers themselves. The problem of child labor cannot be solved without the participation of children. They have their own analysis of society; they have their own strategies not only for survival but also their

conditions of work, their conditions in life. We can learn from them, we have to. -- from the Editorial of Child Workers in Asia newsletter, Vol.1, No.1, Jul-Sept 1985 Child Workers in Asia (CWA) was established in 1985 as a support group for child workers in Asia, and the NGOs working with them. From a small group of five organizations, it now brings together over 50 groups/organizations working on child labor in 14 countries. It facilitates sharing of expertise and experiences between NGOs and strengthens their collaboration to jointly respond to the exploitation of working children in the region. For the last fifteen years, CWA has been a venue for interaction between big and small NGOs. The network has strived to contribute to the development of the understanding of the situation of children who work and are exploited. It has tried its best to support the emergence of local actions for working children and for the promotion of children's rights. In February 1999, partners of CWA met at the 5th CWA Regional Consultation and reaffirmed the need for Asian NGOs to sustain their role as catalysts for social change, remain as a part of the major actors in agenda-setting from local to international levels, and ensure children's participation in the formulation of programs and policies. Furthermore, the partners agreed to pursue actions for the identified priority groups of children: child domestic workers, bonded child laborers, trafficked children, and other groups of children in the worst forms of child labor.

Child labour rooted in Africa's poverty Campaigns launched against traffickers and abusive work By Ernest Harsch In some of the poorest provinces of Burkina Faso, villages are "haemorrhaging" their children, several local journalists reported after a recent tour through Sangui, Nayala, Kossi and other parts of that West African nation. They uncovered a recurring story: countless children, mostly under the age of 14, have left their families in search of work elsewhere in the country or across the border in neighbouring Cte d'Ivoire. Some departed "voluntarily" or at the urging of their parents to escape the severe poverty of their home areas. Others were ensnared by labour traffickers. In almost all cases, according to some of the children who managed to return, they ended up in arduous and poorly paid jobs on plantations or in domestic service, often at great risk to their health, sometimes beaten or prey to sexual predators. Eric Bationo, a child in Ro, was kidnapped in 1997 and did not come back until three years later, suffering from gangrene, according to his mother.

Photo: UNICEF / Radhika Chalasani

Faced with a clear increase in "such abominable practices," stated Mr. Boniface Coulibaly, secretary-general of Kadiogo province, "the highest authorities of our country could not simply cross their arms or close their eyes." In May, the national government ratified Convention 182 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) prohibiting the worst forms of child labour. And like a number of other countries in Africa, it launched a campaign, supported by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other agencies, to oppose the practice. Local government authorities, child welfare experts, community leaders and rights activists have begun educating parents about the dangers of child labour. According to the ILO, slightly more than 51 per cent of all children in Burkina between the ages of 10 and 14 work, even though the labour code bars employment under 14. Across Africa, there are an estimated 80 million child workers, a number that could rise to 100 million by 2015. Since the problem is closely linked to the continent's poverty, and can only be eliminated with increases in family incomes and children's educational opportunities, UNICEF, the ILO and other groups are focusing initially on the

"worst forms" of child labour. These include forced labour and slavery, prostitution, employment in the drug trade and other criminal activities, and occupations that are especially dangerous to children's health and security.

Child Labour in India India accounts for the second highest number where child labour in the world is concerned. Africa accounts for the highest number of children employed and exploited. The fact is that across the length and breadth of the nation, children are in a pathetic condition.

While experts blame the system, poverty, illiteracy, adult unemployment; yet the fact is that the entire nation is responsible for every crime against a child. Instead of nipping the problem at the bud, child labour in India was allowed to increase with each passing year. And today, young ones below the age of 14 have become an important part of various industries; at the cost of their innocence, childhood, health and for that matter their lives. Here is a look at the various labour activities involving children, across the length and breadth of India

Bonded Child Labour : This is also known as slave labour and is one of the worst types of labour for children and adults, alike. In fact, in 1976 the Indian Parliament enacted the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act; herein declaring bonded illegal. However, the fact remains is that this system of working still continues. According to certain experts approximately 10 million bonded children labourers are working as domestic servants in India. Beyond this there are almost 55 million bonded child labourers hired across various other industries.

Child Labour in The Agricultural Sector : According to a recent ILO report about 80% child labourers in India are employed in the agriculture sector. The children are generally sold to the rich moneylenders to whom borrowed money cannot be returned.

Street Children : Children on the streets work as beggars, they sell flowers and other items, instead of being sent to school. They go hungry for days to gather. In fact, they are starved so that people feel sorry for them and give them alms.

Children Employed At Glass Factories : According to recent estimates almost 60,000 children are employed in the glass and bangle industry and are made to work under extreme conditions of excessive heat.

Child Labour in Matchbox Factories :

Of the 2,00,000 labour force in the matchbox industry, experts claim that 35% are children below the age of 14. They are made to work over twelve hours a day, beginning work at around 4 am, everyday.

Carpet Industry Child Labour : According to a recent report by the ILO almost 4,20,000 children are employed in the carpet industry of India.

The Other Industries : According to researchers there are about 50,000 children employed in the brass industry of India and around the same amount in the lock industry. CHILD LABOUR IN INDIA China accounts for the third largest number where child labour is concerned. In fact, many think it to be a phenomenon that has just begun to surface. However, the fact is that child labour in China has been there for years. This is so despite that there have been strict official regulations that ban employment of minors. And according to the laws of China, a minor is an individual below the age of sixteen-years.

Due to poverty, teenagers and younger children have been migrating to the southern and coastal regions of China. This is because these regions have been developing and provide a lot of opportunities to earn. There are juvenile labourers employed in the workshops and factories. According to a recent People's Daily Report the use of children is maximum in the following industries: Toy manufacturing Production Textiles Construction Food production Light mechanical work The reasons for increasing child labour in this country include the following :

The number reason, as for any nation is poverty.

The high school fees even in the rural regions.

Less education opportunities in the rural regions.

The income children bring helps improve to certain extent the financial situation of the family.

Most parents are not aware of the grueling circumstance under which their children work.

Most children do not tell their parents, as they realize the value of their own income for their family. ETHOPIA When Almayo was 10, he and his older brother Wandamu thought they were embarking on an exciting adventure when they ran away from home. From their village in rural Ethiopia, the boys travelled 12 hours by bus to the capital, Addis Ababa. Their plan was to work in the weaving industry and return home with lots of money to surprise their parents. Little did they know that they would be trapped in child labour, weaving clothes for the next seven years, slaving away for no money and no hope. The boys were forced to work from six in the morning until six in the evening. They were allowed a twohour break, then they had to work again, until midnight. This continued for 16 hours a day, seven days a week, week after week, year after year. The brothers had to endure terrible working conditions. They were beaten for any mistake they made, the place was cold and crowded, and they slept on the floor with other workers. When Almayo and Wandamu heard news from their village that their father was seriously ill, the boys finally found their courage to escape. Now, years of living in fear and abuse are behind them. The brothers have been back home for five years. Almayo, at age 22, is back in school doing Grade Three. Im happy and excited, he said. I started my education. World Vision contributes to Almayos school fees while he works at a part-time job to earn some income for his family. MALAYSIA Child labour is a widespread global phenomenon, and is often regarded as a form of child abuse or exploitation of children. Many international bodies such as the United Nations (UN) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have included the abolition of child labor on their agenda. This in-depth study shows the complexity surrounding the issue of child labor. It reveals that child labor may not be a consequence of poverty which most previous studies emphasized. The law on child labor should be modified to take into consideration other factors such as culture, education system and social environment that are important determinants of child labor. It is written in an anthropological style with no jargons and for the reading pleasure of both academicians and general public. It is a book for those who are concerned with the Malaysian education system, culture and the prospect of future generations. ANGOLA Child labor remains widespread in Angola where many families struggling to make a living after a civil war still rely on their children for money, a senior government official said on Tuesday. An estimated 30 percent of Angolan

children aged 5 to 14 years are working and 40 percent do not attend school, according to a United Nations report published in 2001. Experts say that when it comes to Angola, the report still applies. "Some children lost their parents to the war. Others became orphans of parents who are still alive because their parents rely on them for money," Ana Paula, Angola's deputy education minister, said at a conference. "The government of Angola wants to end this now." Luis Cevallos, who heads a U.S.-backed $4 million project aimed at ending child labor in Angola, said that although he has found no cases of child slavery, the practice of child labor is widespread in the southwestern African nation. "We have found some extreme situations: children carrying weight above their capabilities, children working with chemicals and children who work under the sun for long hours. But we did not find children who worked without getting paid," he said. NEW SCHOOLS, TEACHERS Asked if the UN figures for 2001 on child labor still reflected Angola's reality, Cevallos said: "Although there may have been changes here and there, the U.N figures remain more or less the same today." Angola's government has pledged to spend over one third of a $42 billion budget for 2009 to improve education and health. Hundreds of teachers are being hired and new schools built across the country. "We want to make sure every child goes to school and that every parent has the means of education their children by providing free and compulsory education," Paula said, noting the government was building hundreds of schools across Angola. Although the oil-rich nation has become one of the world's fastest growing economies after the civil war in 2002, much of its wealth has failed to trickle down to the population -- almost two thirds of Angolans live on less than $2 a day. Angola has one of the worst child mortality rates in the world, with two in every five children dying before they reach the age of five. BRAZIL Brazilian children as young as five are working in unregulated mines, helping to produce talcum used by international companies including the British-based ICI paints, according to a report by a Sao Paulo group. The non-governmental Social Observatory, which specialises in labour issues, carried out an undercover investigation in the state of Minas Gerais (General Mines) focusing on the deprived community of Mata dos Palmitos near the tourist town of Ouro Preto. About 300 people live in the cluster of slum housing around Minas Talco (Talc Mine) where soapstone - a mixture of talc and other minerals - is extracted in rock form. Despite categorical denials from directors of Minas Talco that child labour is used, the team estimate about 20 children from five to 17 years old work informally to assist in the haulage of unprocessed talc ore rocks, each weighing roughly 18kg. Working for an average of 25 hours a week, the children in the impoverished community help their families, who survive on an average of less than 2 a day, by gathering talc rocks spread around the mine areas. When they have collected enough, locals claim they call Minas Talco which sends a truck to pick them up, paying R$250 (70) for 12 tons. In the tiny community where child labour has been an accepted fact of life for many generations, the lead researcher, Marques Casara, and his team witnessed children loading the large talc deposits from the mine into wheelbarrows. After collection the talc is processed and sold to multi-nationals for use in the production of paints, ceramics, coloured pencils, medicine, soaps and cosmetics. The report - called The Age of Stone - claims that ICI paints, the German chemical company Basf and the German crayon manufacturer Faber-Castell have purchased processed talc from the mine. The 1990 conservation of the

world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro was also completed with soapstone extracted from the same mine, researchers discovered. Using child labour is not only a violation of the Brazilian statute but of international codes on child rights of which Brazil is a signatory. But the region, which is approximately the size of France, has only six inspectors, making enforcement of the code is extremely difficult. The research team also found children employed as "artisans" carving sculptures and dishes with soapstone from the same mine, which they sold to local companies for about 25p. The products are then marked up by as much as 1,000 per cent and exported. "The children go to school in the morning and in the afternoons many work in the extraction of ore from the mines, helping their families earn the money they need to survive," said Mr Casara. "Minas Talco know that children work in the collection of rocks because this happens within their land - it is impossible that they do not. It is a fairly direct use of child labour by this company." The companies contacted by the Social Observatory all reacted with horror to the claims and pledged to cut links with the supplier pending a full investigation. In a statement, Tintas Coral, the Brazilian arm of ICI paints which uses the talc, denied it had any knowledge of the practice. The company, which achieved sales of 5.6bn in 2004, is best known in Britain for its Dulux range "As a socially responsible company Tintas Coral is checking the facts and if the charge is proven will no longer purchase any type of product from this supplier," a spokesman said in response to the report. The company has cancelled its contract with the supplier. Both Basf and Faber-Castell said they were appalled by the Social Observatory's findings. The report also found that, despite a commitment to eradicate child labour by President Lula da Silva, who worked as a shoeshine boy at the age of eight, only 10 of 30 children were receiving the support of the government programme for the eradication of child labour which pays children R$25 (7) a month to go to school rather than work