Sunday, June 12, 2022

WFTU on International Day against Child Labour: "End child labour — Stop man by man exploitation"

In a statement about the International Day Against Child Labour (12 June 2022), the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) vows to fight and end all forms of exploitation of children. The full statement reads:

On this International day against child labour, World Federation of Trade Union, with all its affiliates across the globe, recommits itself to the firm resolve to fight against all forms of exploitation of children. WFTU in most vociferous terms says, “Stop child labour; Restore the right of children to a childhood!”

Even after two decades of the launch of this day by the United Nations in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the international initiatives of action and efforts to eliminate it, the evil thrives deeper in the exploitative system of capitalism. Recent survey of UNICEF reveals the dismal fact that a whopping number of 160 million children-a staggering one in ten worldwide- are involved in labour considered to be mentally, physically, socially and morally harmful. Children as young as 5 years of age are performing the hazardous jobs such as underwater mining, heavy lifting, the handling of dangerous factory machines etc,. Majority of the children are engaged in agriculture where they handle poisonous chemicals. Of these 79, million are regularly involved in jobs that pose an immediate danger to physical and mental health.  One in four of all victims of trafficking are children involved in forced labour. Child slavery is still persistent. According to the International Labour Organisation 22 thousand children die every year while at work.

Child labour in the world has risen to meteoric heights in the last two years. Between 2016 and 2020 — for the first time in 20 years — the number of working children worldwide has increased. The unprecedented economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is pushing children into exploitative and dangerous child labour further.

Poverty, low literacy, food insecurity are the ills that drive child labour.  ILO estimates that a one percent increase in poverty in a country leads to at least a 0.7 percent increase in child labour rates. The bulk of child labour is concentrated in the poorest countries. Rising poverty, the closure of schools and increased food insecurity will mean millions more children will be forced to work in the coming years.

Worst forms of child labour are rampant in the conflict and post conflict settings too. Children are used directly into the hostilities and engaged in supportive tasks and sexual purposes in the armed conflicts.  Use of children in the armed conflict is the worst form of child labour and human rights violation.

ILO Conventions C138 on the minimum age for admission to employment and work and C182 on the worst forms of child labour do not seem to have brought any reasonable change. In fact C 182  is the most rapidly ratified Convention in the history of the ILO. Universal ratification of Convention 182 was the historic first. But in reality it has not done much to provide legal protection against the worst forms of child labour.

Child labour is unjust in all dimensions and  the systemic roots of child labour are in the barbaric capitalist system. Child labour is the norm under capitalism and is omnipresent and entirely normalised in the capitalist system.

WFTU is committed to its objective to establish an equitable world order which will ensure to everyone the possibility to develop and thrive as human beings. We shall recommit ourselves to this objective and intensify our actions to end the inhuman exploitation of children.  There is more than enough wealth on this planet to give a decent childhood to every single one of the 1.6 billion children living worldwide.

On this International day against child labour,  WFTU vows to fight to end the exploitative economic order,  to bring in an equitable and socialist society where every child will cherish the right to grow to be good and productive humans.

End child labour

Stop man by man  exploitation.