CyberDodo fights against child labour (2-25)

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In the episode related to this information file, CyberDodo saves some children whose very lives are in peril as they work in a mine. This situation does in fact exist, whereby people completey without moral compunction or a conscience use children to carry out dangerous, even degrading work, such work ultimately traumatising the children both physically and psychologically.

The children work full-time (often more than 12 hours per day), receiving no real salary but often in exchange for food of inadequate nutritional quality and unsanitary lodging. They are unable to go to school, are separated from their families and their health steadily declines.

Examples of fields in which such abuse has been observed :

- Work in mines
- Carpet weaving
- Construction
- Goldsmiths and silversmiths.
- Agriculture
- Domestic work
- Child soldiers (See the information file and episode)

It would be impossible to not mention the situation of child prostitution, in which millions of minors are engaged. (See the information file and episode)


Education for a future

What are the solutions ?

As indicated at the beginning of this file, poverty is the main reason for chidl labour and the eradication thereof is therefore an integral part of any solution to the reality of child labour.

Simply put, it would be enough if States respected the formal obligations which they undertook in signing the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, unfortunately, it seems that simplicity and respect are paths not often followed in this regard.

Following are some specific measures which must be implemented everywhere and by everyone (click on the lines in order to see the corresponding files and episodes) :

Immediate prohibition of all forms of dangerous work
Free and compulsory schooling
Free and mandatory social protections
State registration of all births
Prohibition on all forms of commerce with countries in which child labour exists
National and international control mechanisms
Global information accessible to children and families ( was created for this purpose)

Our societies must protect all children from all forms of dangerous work. International solidarity must intervene and come to bear on the severe disparities which exist between the situation of privileged children living in rich countries and young workers, even slaves, engaged in labour in the world’s poorer countries.

Human dignity is not a matter of skin colour, race, nationality, sex or social status.

All children are entitled to benefit from all of their rights.

Chat CyberDodo

To see the cartoon on dangerous work, click here

To see the quiz, click here

To see the game on dangerous work, click here

This information file is dedicated to Iqbal Masih and all child slaves….. so that their suffering is never forgotten, and that it be the last of its kind for all time !

© CyberDodo Productions

Are the conditions the same for all child labourers around the world ?

International organisations agree that there are over 200 million children engaged in various forms of labour, but behind this number exist very different realities for each child labourer, depending on the specific workplace and activity involved, as well as age and social status of the child labourer.

However, one common denominator can be found amongst all forms of exploitation : poverty. When it is a question of sheer survival, of having enough to eat, the contribution of a child can prove determinant for an entire family. The eradication of poverty is thus a necessary precondition for any and all long-term solutions to child labour.

As such, it is a good idea to be wary of certain « initiatives » which, purporting to protect the youngest victims of labour-based exploitation, effectively result in worsening their situation. A notable example was the dismissal of 50,000 child labourers from textile factories in Bangladesh at the beginning of the 1990’s, in the face of fear of a boycott in the United States. These children, principally girls, obligated to find work, found themselves engaged in even more dangerous work. It is thus critical to be knowledgeable of and understand local conditions in order to achieve those successes which these children so urgently need.

Child labour, millions of unique cases

Is there an acceptable form of child labour ?

In certain situations, the answer is yes, but if and only if :

- The child receives regular and fulfilling schooling
- The work does not represent a danger to the child’s health, development and his or her well-being
- The work does not prevent the child from adequate rest or leisure activity
- The work is integral to an educational program and/or part of a local tradition

The above answer may seem shocking for some of us in western countries, but it is nonetheless fundamental to know that a reasonable economic contribution on the part of children – respecting the above criteria- is indispensable to the survival of millions of families living in poor countries.

What are inacceptable forms of child labour ?

In short, one can say that they are all forms of labour in which the specific needs of children are ignored. A child is not a miniature adult, he or she is an adult of tomorrow.

Such forms of exploitation are based on the increased profit which « the employer » is able to gain by using a child instead of an adult, including :

- Much lower salaries, if existent at all
- Complete absence of health and social protections
- Reduced personal needs (food, etc)

But, even worse exists…