The good news first: fewer and fewer children have to work. The bad news: in some places, child labor has increased again. A mixed balance on this year’s World Day Against Child Labor.
Less child labor in Asia
These boys work in a brick factory in Narayanganj, Bangladesh. In return, they barely get two dollars a day in wages. The number of working children in Asia and the Pacific decreased. Nevertheless: More than seven percent of all children living here have to earn money. These are more than 62 million children in total.
Myanmar wants better protection for children
Girls also do physically difficult jobs, like this one in Myanmar. The country has raised the minimum age in factories and retail to 14 years and banned full-time employment of children under 16. The government is also discussing a law to ban minors from doing dangerous work.
Despite the downturn: home stretch far away
Child labor includes activities that are dangerous for children, damage their development, prevent them from attending school – in short: deprive them of their childhood. Child labor is declining worldwide. But the goal that no child will have to work by 2025 hardly seems achievable.
Almost every fifth child in Africa works
Most of the girls and boys who have to work live in Africa – a total of 72 million. Child labor has even increased again in sub-Saharan Africa. If the fields can no longer be cultivated due to wars, natural disasters and flight, or if the main breadwinner is lost, children have to bring the money home.
Sew clothes instead of learning arithmetic
There are around 60 million people worldwide on the run. Like this Syrian boy in Turkey, about half of them are children and adolescents. The longer the flight takes, the greater the likelihood that they will have to work instead of going to school. The UN Children’s Fund UNICEF warns that without education there will be a cycle of poverty for generations.
Main field of agriculture
Most children work in agriculture with a good 70 percent. In general, more than two thirds of child labor takes place in the family, in the family business, in the field and harvest work, as here in the water lily harvest in Bangladesh.
The smallest make up the largest group
Almost half of all working children are only between five and eleven years old. The majority of them work in agriculture. Experts believe that work will shift more and more from the countryside to the cities and that more and more children will also work there.
Dangerous jobs for the elderly
Industry and construction are mostly interested in the elderly. Half of the children and young people working here are between 15 and 17 years old. Is in this age group also the Largest number of those doing risky work.
Focus on safety and health
Because young workers have an accident more often than experienced workers, the International Labor Organization (ILO) is focusing on safety and health care on this year’s World Day Against Child Labor. As here in mining in Bolivia, children often have to take on particularly dangerous jobs, according to the ILO.
The worst forms of child labor
The United Nations includes the use of children as soldiers, prostitutes, drug couriers, as well as in forced labor and all other activities that endanger and destroy the health, safety and psyche of children.
Gray area housework
Girls in particular are often used in household chores. Most of the time, these activities are kept hidden. An estimated 15 million children and adolescents work in private households worldwide. Some of them have to live in conditions that resemble slavery.
Children’s union in Boliven
Open dealing with the topic in Bolivia: Since 2014, a law has already permitted ten-year-olds to work in exceptional cases. It made headlines worldwide, but was also challenged by working children themselves. They have joined together in a union, the Union of Bolivia’s Child and Youth Workers, UNATSBO. She also represents shoe cleaners like this boy in La Paz.
Poverty causes child labor
The lower the average income in a country, the higher the number of working children. Although many children try to go to school despite work, they often have little time to learn. Education offers for children, like in this Afghan school, should go hand in hand with poverty reduction, experts say. Then the goal of ending child labor would be much closer.
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