Identify & Get Informed
According to statistical data compiled by the International Labour Organization in 2008, an estimated 172 million children aged 5 to 14 partake in child labour globally. Out of the estimated 172 million, about 126 million children regularly engage in hazardous work that can potentially endanger their personal safety, mental & physical health, and development. A consequence of the child labour issue is that it doesn’t just limit itself to the service, automobile or agricultural industries. Regrettably, child labour extends itself to practices such as selling or trafficking children, the forced recruitment of child soldiers, using or offering children for prostitution, production of pornography, or early marriage. Furthermore, children who enter into bonded or indentured labour contracts often deal with corporal punishments and threats of violence from their employers if they choose to leave the job.
So why do some children choose
to work in these conditions? Although there are dozens upon dozens of reasons why, the two most common catalysts of child labour are poverty and lack of education. For years state governments have chosen to provide access to formal education and skills training courses as weapons to combat child labour. But according to a recent study on the success rates of such programs, it was found that despite the access to education and skills training courses provided by governing bodies, former child labourers run the risk of returning to their old jobs if their education fails to land them with better employment. Additionally, It can be difficult for a family stricken with poverty to send a child to school instead of work. Poverty, unlike other factors of child labour, is a continuous process that one cannot easily escape, whereby long-term solutions like better education are not always realistic methods of addressing the immediate concerns of child labourers.
To learn more about the Global Issues’ Guide-to-Action model used for this issue click here
Lead & Get Others Involved
Indian National Kailash Satyarthi isn’t just another household name, but he is the brilliant architect of the successful Global March Against Child Labour
(www.globalmarch.org). Though planning the global march proved to be difficult at first, this event enabled thousands upon thousands of people to quickly ratify Convention182, on the Worst Forms of Child Labour
so that action could officially be initiated to end child labour worldwide. At first, Satyarthi only intended this march to banish economic exploitation and human trafficking in the labour fields of India, but the idea was so empowering and replicable that it spread like wildfire to the rest of the world. The global march movement was designed by Satyarthi to emphasize the fact that child labour was responsible for the continuous perpetuation of poverty and promote his ideal of education for all. So far, this movement has largely been responsible for the creation of other initiatives like South Asian March against Child Trafficking, The Global Campaign for Education, Fair Chocolate for the World, and the Global Initiative to fight Human Trafficking. Satyarthi’s initiative has also generated appeal and global interest in ending the use of child servants, the act of identifying and documenting child labour in every country, and demanding the allocation of 1% of every national GDP towards ending child labour.
If you have lead others to get involved in making an impact on the issue of child labour or any other global issue, let the rest of the TakingITGlobal (TIG) community know by writing your own TIG member's story and inspire others to create change just like you!
Now that you’re inspired to lead others on this global issue check out these links to learn more about how you can get involved with this issue.
Volunteer with an Organization like StreetKids International which advocates for the empowerment of Street children living in your local communities.
Learn more about One World South Asia's programs that promote the prevention of child labour, read papers and schedule to attend child labour-related workshops on their online platform.
Lend your support by joining the following commitment on TakingItGlobal.org
Plan and Get Moving
So how are you going to share this global issue with others? Many people are often dumbfounded by the unrealistic belief that they alone cannot bring any change by themselves. The excuse of “I’m just one person, what can I really do to help?” is truly faulty on account of the fact that there are so many opportunities to inspire nowadays with the introduction of social networking and online blogs.
Here’s what you can do on TIG:
- Create a petition or make a commitment to take a stand against the support of child labour and the unethical production of goods and services
- Start a TIG group or a project dedicated to informing and empowering young people in your community and around the world about the issue of child labour
- If you’re not sure how to start a conversation around this issue, connect with other TIG members on our discussion boards.
- Check out TIG’s Action Guides to learn how to make the action you want to take on this global issue a reality.
Here’s what else you can do:
- You can join organizations that takes a deep interest in the well-being of children across the globe.
- You can get in touch with your local political representatives and express your concerns about how you government is dealing with child labour-related issues in your community.
- You can check out RUGMARK, which is an organization that teaches individuals how to be consumer-conscious when it comes to purchasing rugs.
- You can work within student-run/student-led groups and associations and engage in child labour protests/campaigns.
This is simply the beginning for there is a world of opportunities for you to plan and get moving on. So what are you waiting for? Get Moving!
Have a Lasting impact
Learning about a new global issue is only the first step to developing the skills you need to have a lasting impact. So let the rest of TIG know what kind of change you want to see with the issue of Child Labour by joining us in one of our online discussions described below.
Are female child labourers really under-represented in the media as they appear? Is this an intended bias?
Do regional policies play a role in spreading child labour?
Is education enough to stop/prevent the vicious cycle of poverty that induces child labour? Its been cited as one of the most effective and probable solutions for child labour, but is it really enough?
A popular Chinese proverb once said, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Can this proverb be applied to child labourers?
Kailash Satyarthi: The Seeker of Truth. “Biography” Web Address: http://www.kailashsatyarthi.net/biography/index.php
Have something more to add to what we’ve discussed above? Then check out this global issue’s wiki page to have your say!