Child Labor Day or World Day Against Child Labor is observed annually on June 12. The day has been around since 2002 when the International Labor Organization (I.L.O.) declared it an international day to raise awareness about child labor and the need to make efforts to prevent it. Since 2002, Child Labor Day or World Day Against Child Labor has been an annual occurrence where countries and international organizations come together to make efforts against child labor. Apart from spreading awareness and engineering activism, the most important thing is to find ways to eradicate child labor from the roots as more than half of all these children are being subjected to some worse forms of child labor. These are hazardous and extremely illegal, like human trafficking resulting in forced prostitution.
History of Child Labor Day
Child labor refers to the exploitation of children, especially in developing countries, while depriving them of childhood and access to education because of their poor economic conditions. Child labor has existed throughout history in different forms. Recorded evidence of children involved in labor like adults has been present since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, in which children used to work twelve hours a shift daily.
To support the rapidly industrialized economy, western nations needed more and more labor and the best source available to them as children. In comparison to older days, when a single man of the house was enough to feed the family, the economic recession during the industrial revolution quite badly affected the ordinary man and his family. Children along with women had to come out to work in factories to make enough money which barely ensured their survival, and since then this exploitation of children as a source of the cheap labor force has prevailed.
Overall in the world, Africa has consistently stood at the number one position when it comes to child labor, one in every five children is involved in child labor. The second worst numbers come from the Asian-Pacific belt, where 7% of all the children are victims of child labor.
Child Labor has been among the most discussed topics in the U.N. and other international organizations and serious efforts have been to prevent child labor, but still, around 160 million children are involved in child labor and the world still needs more efforts to eradicate child labor from the roots.
Child Labor Day timeline
Children get involved in the new revolution of industrialization in Great Britain and Germany.
The Royal Commission recommends that children between ages 11 to 18 should work 12 hours per day, and between ages nine to 11 should work up to nine hours.
In the U.S. alone, over two million children are actively employed in various jobs to support the economy.
The World Day Against Child Labor is announced by the International Labor Organization to spread awareness and activism for the cause.
Child Labor Day FAQs
Is all child work child labor?
Children who are assisting their family in the business, or are earning a pocket while not being deprived of their childhood and right to education is not child labor. It is something that is encouraged. Child labor is the exploitation of children because of the families’ economic condition that they are deprived of their childhood and are forced to work so that they can contribute to the family’s income.
Are there any laws against child labor in the U.S.?
Such exploitation is prohibited by minimum working age legislation in almost all US states, although these laws do not consider all child labor to be child labor. Exceptions include work by child artists, family duties, supervised training, and some forms of child work practiced by Amish children, as well as by Indigenous children in the Americas.
How can I play my role to eradicate child labor?
Invest in a child’s education or financially support a family who is desperate because of their financial issues. Your support in providing education will result in new opportunities for that child.
How to Observe Child Labor Day
Donate for a cause
Many N.G.Os are working to eradicate child labor, and your donations can help them secure a future for a child. If finances are an issue, volunteer your time.
Organize an awareness session
Educate your colleagues and friends on child labor and how dangerous it can be for the children. Encourage them to give in donations to support families in extreme poverty.
Attend I.L.O. and U.N-sponsored events
You should attend such events as they increase your knowledge and determination towards the cause. Volunteer for such events and make your contribution.
5 Facts About Child Labor Everyone Should Know
160 million children worldwide
Over the last four years, the number has increased by 8.4 million. Right now, there are 160 million children who are victims of child labor.
70% of children working in agriculture
The highest percentage of children involved in child labor work in the agriculture sector.
Poverty is the biggest cause
According to stats from the U.N, the biggest cause of child labor is poverty and unemployment.
Regulated Child Labor began in the U.K.
During the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, the rapid development of large-scale manufacturing pioneered the exploitation of young children.
India leading child labor in South Asia
India has the highest number of children involved in child labor — the number exceeds five million.
Why Child Labor Day is Important
We can prevent child labor
The more we know about child labor, the more we will be able to work towards its eradication. The idea behind observing World Day Against Child Labor is to spread awareness of how dangerous child labor is and that it needs to stop.
It exhibits our resolve against child labor
Organizations like I.L.O. operate on our volunteerism and support. Without our support, these organizations will soon shut down and the world will become an even worse place for these children. Till today, it has been our combined efforts that have made a difference. Celebrating or observing this day exhibits our resolve against child labor.
It supports freedom
Around 50% of the children involved in child labor are being subjected to bad working conditions and are on the verge of being permanently handicapped. No human being, let alone a child, deserves such atrocity. Our observance of this day and efforts to support their freedom will pave the way for this child labor to end permanently.
Child Labor Day dates