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Child Labor Still Torments the World Today

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Child Labor Must End

Child labor remains a menace in the world today, as roughly 168 million boys and girls are found in workplaces instead of at schools.

In his remarks in Washington DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry said no parent should ever have to look at a tiny infant and fear that one day the child would be a victim of exploitative child labor. However, child labor is the reality today for millions the world over.

Secretary Kerry said around 168 million boys and girls throughout the world are working in sweatshops. And that number exceeds the entire population of Russia.

Children Never Get To Attend School

child
Child labour in Bangladesh. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Because of poverty, children are laboring in hazardous conditions, particularly sewing shirts in cramped factories, seeding and harvesting cotton fields in oppressive heat, or forced to carry a rifle in a war they don't understand.

In addition, education is not a priority for these children. Many never get to attend school. Some adult responsibilities are forced on them at a young age, and many more are forced to grow up too fast, simply to help provide for their families.

US Committed To Combat Child Labor

According to Secretary Kerry, combating child labor is a major focus of the State Department's mission.

Secretary Kerry emphasized that to break the chains of poverty and abuse that make children so vulnerable, the international community should promote internationally recognized worker rights.

One of its initiatives, the US is using annual reports, including the "Human Rights Report" and "Trafficking in Persons Report," to bring these critical issues to light.

In fact, the State Department is working with other government agencies and partner countries to empower civil society with tools that make a difference for children and their families.

The United States remains committed to ending child exploitation - including child soldiering, child trafficking, and any work that harms the health, safety, or morals of children.

The US government asserts that the problem of child labor may be entrenched, but it is also solvable.

Ending labor exploitation is a shared US responsibility, because the United States believes that every child born into this world deserves the opportunity to achieve his or her God-given potential.

On June 2011, the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) said in a new report indicated that a child labourer suffers a work-related accident, illness or psychological trauma every minute.

ILO reported that although the overall number of children aged 5 to 17 in hazardous work declined between 2004 and 2008, child workers in the 15-to-17 age bracket rose by 20 per cent during the same period, from 52 million to 62 million.

The ILO Global Report on child labour warned in 2010 that efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour were slowing down and expressed concern that the global economic crisis could halt progress toward the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016.

The study noted that the problem of children in hazardous work is not confined to developing countries. Evidence from the United States and Europe also shows the high vulnerability of youth to workplace accidents.

The ILO report concluded that while there is a need to strengthen workplace safety and health for all workers, specific safeguards for adolescents between the minimum age of employment and the age of 18 are needed.

The measures need to be part of a comprehensive approach in which employer and worker organizations and labour departments have particularly critical role to play.

However, ILO pointed out that throughout the world, girls continue to be disadvantaged in many ways, including through discrimination, limited access to schooling, and traditional roles that still relegate certain forms of work to girls.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that approximately 100 million girls throughout the world are child laborers, often working in hazardous and exploitative conditions.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain english. Read more stories by Mina Fabulous. Contact Mina through NewsBlaze.

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