Child Labour is an insidious social issue that is still prevalent in our society. Children, mostly hailing from impoverished background are forced to quit schools and promptly put to work to support their parents. Poverty is the main reason for child labour. According to the International Labour Organisation, child labour is "work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity and that is harmful to physical and mental health". According to the UN, almost 48 per cent of victims of child labour were aged between 5-11; 28 per cent ranged between 12-14 years old and 24 per cent belonged to the 15-17-year-old brackets. In 2002, World Day Against Child Labour was introduced by the International Labour Organisation. Celebrated on June 12th, the day designated to raise awareness about the plight of these innocent lives aims to create a safe space for children to grow and live a life free of labour and indignity across the globe.


In 1919, the International Labour Organisation (ILO)  was established to promote social justice and to set up International Labour Standards. Their main objective was to create safe labour guidelines and favourable conditions for workers around the globe. Since then they have established several conventions to improve labour conditions. In 1973, ILO established convention number 138  that focused on the minimum age for employment. The main objective of convention 138 - aimed at the 187 member states under ILO -  raised the minimum age of employment and abolish child labour.  In 1999, ILO added convention number 182  known as "Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention". It aimed to take necessary and immediate action to eliminate child labour.


The day highlights the right to protect education for every child and as an extension abolish child labour across the world. However, due to the impact of Covid-19, the world has stalled its efforts to curb Child Labour. A UN report  said, "progress to end child labour has stalled for the first time in 20 years, reversing the previous downward trend that saw the number put to work fall by 94 million between 2000 and 2016." To reverse the trend the UN called for better social benefits that will encourage children to stay in school.


Since this is the first time in two decades that the world has seen a significant increase in child labour, Act now: end child labour - is the theme of this year's World Day Against Child Labour.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 11, 2021 06:27 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website