World Day Against Child Labour 2020: Check History, Significance, What is child labour, World Day Against Child Labour theme

Updated: Jun 09, 2020 17:46 IST

World Day Against Child Labour 2020: Check History, Significance, What is child labour, World Day Against Child Labour theme

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World Day Against Child Labour: It is a harsh reality of the modern society that children are still exploited for cheap or unpaid labour. The World Day Against Child Labour, observed yearly on June 12, encourages conversation and consciousness around the injustice of child labour. It prompts governments and other institutions to review or adopt steps that can be taken to eliminate Child Labour around us. Get all the details about Child Labour, History, World Day Against Child Labour Theme in this article.

World Day Against Child Labour 2020

The World Day Against Child Labour is observed on June 12 every year. The day is observed to bring focus on the plight of children who are pushed into exploitative labour. Due to the ongoing COVID crisis, millions of people have already lost their jobs and livelihood and this may mean that a number of vulnerable children are facing the possibility of being pulled into unpaid, menial, or hard labour as it becomes unviable to employ adults. The global World Day Against Child Labour campaign will be conducted online this year, in the light of the pandemic. 

What is Child Labour?

India defines a ‘child’ as someone who is under 14 years of age. The UN understands Child Labour to be work carried out in a manner that endangers a child that participates in it, which is in violates international and local laws. ‘Child labour’ under  international law falls into three categories:

  • The unconditional worst forms of child labour, which include slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, and other forms of forced labour, children forced into armed conflict, prostitution, and pornography, and illicit activities.
  • Labour that employs children who are under the prescribed age, which will thus probably obstruct the child’s education and holistic development.
  • Labour that threatens the physical, mental or moral well-being of a child, due to the nature of the work or the conditions that it is being carried out in.

This means that children involved are denied basic schooling or are made to bear the burden of both school and work at a vulnerable age. Understandably, it detrimentally affects their normal physical, moral, psychological, and social growth. Since more than half work in hazardous environments, they face the added danger of accident, violence, forced involvement in armed conflict, and physical or mental abuse. 

Where is Child Labour most prevalent?

As per the UN estimate, over 218 million children between 5 and 17 years are in employment. Among them, 152 million are victims of child labour; of which, 73 million, work in hazardous environments. Reports state that, in absolute terms, almost half of the population (72.1 million) is in Africa. The Asia- Pacific region follows closely behind with  62.1 million children who perform child labour. The number in the  Americas stands at 10.7 million. Europe and Central Asia have about  5.5 million children who are pushed into exploitative labour. The number is lowest in the Arab States which has 1.2 million children involved in the domain of child labour. Around half of the 152 million children fall into the category of  5-11 years, while 42 million (28%) are between 12-14 years old; and the rest age between 15-17 years old.

The Census of 2011 revealed that, in India, there are 10.1 million children working between the ages of 5-14, which is 3.9% of the total child population. Additionally, more than 42.7 million children are out of school.

Causes of Child Labour

Poverty and lack of education contribute most to the perpetuation of Child Labour. Other contributing factors are social and economic backwardness and family traditions which people are unwilling to break. Gender discrimination between boys and girls also directs the nature of work they are forced into.

Global Measures taken against Child Labour

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) observed this day for the first time in 2002. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by world leaders in 2015 include the commitment to implement measures to extirpate forced labour, with immediate effect. The goals purport to end modern slavery and human trafficking, while eliminating the most heinous forms of child labour, and to remove child labour in its entirety by 2025.

In India:

In India, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act was introduced in 1986 to disallow the engagement of children in certain fields of employment and to regulate the conditions of work of children in others. The incidence of child labour has decreased by 2.6 million between 2001 and 2011. This decline was not equal in all settings, as it was more visible in rural areas. At the same time, the number of child workers had increased in urban areas. Uttar Pradesh has the highest instance of Child Labour at 21.5% and along with Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh, which constitute 55% of India’s total working children population. 

CRY (Child Rights and You), an organization that works for children’s welfare, reveals that their groundwork enabled them to understand that official data fails to recognize a large number of children that work in family enterprises, which is exempt from the legislation.  It is their belief that ‘rescuing’ children from labour is not enough. It is necessary to identify the root causes that force families and communities to tolerate Child Labour and addressing those issues while sensitizing the public to the detriments of continuing the system of abuse. Kailash Satyarthi, who is a Nobel Prize recipient, as being a leader of the global movement to eradicate child slavery and exploitative child labour. Along with the grassroots movement founded by him, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement), he has helped to release more than 85,000+ children from exploitation. They also went on to create a successful rehabilitative model that emphasized continued schooling..

About ILO

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is a United Nations (UN) agency. The main objective of ILO is to improve social and economic justice by setting international labour standards. It was founded in 1919. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. ILO, currently, has 187 member States. It aims to set labour standards, develop policies, and devise programmes to promote decent work for all women and men.

World Day Against Child Labour theme 2019

World Day Against Child Labour theme for the year 2019 was "Children shouldn’t work in fields but on dreams!" The theme brought together government employers and workers organizations, civil society, and millions of people across the world to highlight the plight of child labourers. The day focused to bring attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. 

World Day Against Child Labour Quotes

In India, there are so many innocent and poor children who are victims of child labor. - Malala Yousafzai

Child labor perpetuates poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, population growth, and other social problems. - Kailash Satyarthi

You can’t regulate child labor. You can’t regulate slavery. Some things are just wrong. - Michael Moore

If we can’t begin to agree on fundamentals, such as the elimination of the most abusive forms of child labor, then we really are not ready to march forward into the future. - Alexis Herman

After all, despite the economic advantage to firms that employed child labor, it was in the social interest, as a national policy, to abolish it – removing that advantage for all firms. - Barry Commoner

Eradicate child labor and aspire for a better future

World revolves around the children. Children's’ future revolves around education. Stop Child Labor

For A Better Nation, Stop Child Exploitation

World Day Against Child Labour - FAQ

1. Which country has the most occurrence of Child Labour?

Child Labour is present in almost all global regions. Africa records the highest numbers as it is responsible for around half the global number. The Asia- Pacific region follows closely behind with  62.1 million children who perform child labour. The number is lowest in the Arab States which has 1.2 million children involved in the domain of child labour.

2. What is Child Labour?

Child Labour is when a person under 14 years of age is employed for work that is exploitative and detrimental to their well-being, in the condition that threatens their physical and mental health. Work done by adolescents that do not interfere with their schooling and do them no harm is not considered child labour.

3. What are the causes of Child Labour?

The lure of easy money for poor people and lack of education are two of the main causes for the perpetuation of Child Labour.  Failure of laws to protect children from being exploited is also another factor. Companies take advantage of loopholes in law in developing countries to employ children with the aim of bringing down costs.

4. What is the Child Labour law in India?

India is in an active battle against the evil of exploitative employment children. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act was introduced in 1986 to eradicate the menace of employing young children in dangerous conditions or in an unfair manner. 


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