World Day Against Child Labour

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2024 Date12 June 2024
2025 Date12 June 2025

World Day Against Child Labour

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World Day Against Child Labour History

World Day Against Child Labour serves as a global platform to raise awareness about the importance of eradicating child labour, and to highlight the plight of millions of children around the world subjected to exploitative work conditions. This observance emphasizes the need to protect children's rights to education, safety, and a supportive environment, by reinforcing international cooperation and sharing knowledge on effective strategies to eradicate child labour. The focus is not solely on labour-intensive sectors but also extends to all forms of child exploitation, addressing issues such as trafficking, forced labour, and children in armed conflict.

Though this observance was initiated by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2002, the connection between World Day against Child Labour and the South African context is historically significant. During the apartheid era, child labour was widespread due to economic inequality, lack of access to education, and structural discrimination. Today, South Africa has significantly reduced child labour as a result of substantial policy frameworks such as the South African Child Labour Programme of Action, and the ratification of ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. However, challenges still remain, with many children at risk of being exposed to hazardous working environments, exploitation, and trafficking.

On World Day Against Child Labour, various organizations, social activists, and community leaders in South Africa take part in campaigns, workshops, seminars, and dialogues to promote awareness about the detrimental consequences of child labour on society. Educational events and outreach initiatives are organized in communities to enlighten families on the importance of keeping children in school rather than engaging them in labour. The World Day Against Child Labour is observed annually on the 12th of June.

World Day Against Child Labour facts

  • Boys are more likely to be engaged in hazardous work and sectors such as agriculture, while girls are more prevalent in domestic work and informal sectors.
  • According to the UN, there are an estimated 160 million children between the ages of 5-17 still engaged in child labor around the world.
  • The agriculture sector has the highest number of child laborers globally. It employs around 70% of child laborers, mainly in activities such as farming, livestock, fishing, and forestry.
  • According to a 2020 report by the South African Human Rights Commission, an estimated 551,000 children between the ages of 7 and 17 were involved in various forms of child labor in 2015.
  • The key drivers of child labor in South Africa include poverty, unemployment, and lack of access to quality education. Many families rely on their children's labor to supplement their income, and a lack of social protection exacerbates the issue. Children from rural areas, migrant families, or having low educational attainment are particularly vulnerable to child labor.

Top things to do in South Africa for World Day Against Child Labour

  • Learn how you can get involved and help end child labor.
  • Donate to reputable charities working to end child labor. Some examples include the Global March Against Child Labor and the Stop Child Labor Coalition.
  • Watch a documentary to learn more about the history of child labour in South Africa. Here are our top picks:
    1. Promised Land (2018)- Directed by Yoruba Richen, Promised Land is a documentary that delves into the issue of land rights in South Africa, where a significant number of farmworkers, including children, are subjected to poor working conditions.
    2. Child Labor in South Africa - The Fishing Industry (2014)- This short YouTube documentary exposes the child labor issues in the South African fishing industry. It highlights the working conditions and the lives of children working in this sector.
    3. Child Labor in South Africa - The Tobacco Industry (2013): This YouTube documentary investigates the harsh working conditions and exploitation faced by child laborers in the tobacco industry in South Africa.
  • Read a book to learn more about the history of child labour in South Africa. Here are our recommendations:
    1. Child Labour in South African History: Context, Continuity and Change by Marijke du Toit
    2. Children, Labour and the Law in South Africa by Manfred Liebel, Phiniwe Linda-Zama, and Christine Loudes
    3. The Worst Forms of Child Labour in South Africa by Christina Nomdo

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