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Child Labour Essay

Institute of Communication Studies
Punjab University, Lahore
1: Introduction
2: Strategies/Plans
3: What can you Do?
4: Target Audience
5: Communication Mode
6: Conclusion
7: Bibliography

Definition of child labour
The Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as anyone below the age of 18.“Child labour” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful tophysical and mental development. It refers to work that:

* interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the * opportunity to attend school, obliging them to leave school * prematurely or requiring them to attempt to combine
* school attendance with excessively long and heavy work. Forms of child labour
Child labour exists in many forms. Sometimes it can be easily observed; sometimes it is hidden from your view. Here is a list of different forms of child labour that includes some of the most widespread forms and some of the worst forms. However, this is not a complete list of all existing forms. Domestic work: Very common and sometimes seen as acceptable, it happens in the family home or outside the home. When domestic work is outside the home, children – almost always girls – work very long hours, have no chance to go to school and are isolated from their family and friends. Agricultural work:

A lot of working children are found in agriculture. They often work on the family farm or with the whole family, as a unit, for an employer. Work in industries:  This work can be regular or casual, legal or illegal, as part of the family or by the child on his own for an employer. It includes carpet weaving, gemstone polishing, making garments, chemicals, glassware, fireworks, matches or a range of other products. These tasks expose the children to hazardous chemicals that can lead to poisoning, respiratory and skin diseases, radiant heat, fire and explosions, eyesight and hearing damage cuts, burns and even death.

Work in mines and quarries:
Child labour is used in small scale mines in many countries. They work long hours without adequate protection and training. Child miners suffer from physical strain, fatigue and disorders of the muscular and skeletal systems.

Slavery and forced labour:
It is most commonly found in rural areas. It is also frequently linked to the oppression of ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples. Children are often also drawn into armed conflict, forced to be soldiers or to work for armed forces.

Prostitution and child trafficking:
It is one of the worst forms of child labour. The dangers faced by children are extreme and range from moral corruption to sexually transmitted diseases to death.

Work in the informal economy:
This includes a whole range of activities such as shoe cleaning, begging, pulling rickshaws, selling newspapers, or collecting rubbish. Some forms are very easily observed while others are hidden from public view. Activities often take place on the streets but also include domestic work.

Participate in the World Day Against Child Labour

In 2002, the International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the first World Day Against Child Labour, as a way to highlight the worldwide movement to eliminate child labour. The World Day Against Child Labour is celebrated every year, on 12th June. It provides an opportunity to gain the support of governments, employers and workers’ organisations, civil society and others for the campaign against child labour. 2008 activities will focus and raise awareness on “Education: The Right Response to Child Labour”.

The role of education is highlighted because access to free and compulsory education for poor children is crucial to reducing child labour. The most recent ILO Global Report noted that the establishment of universal schooling to the age of 14 or 15 has signaled the effective end of child labour in a number of countries.

Contribute to the 12to12 Portal

The 12to12 Community Portal is a networking platform for various groups working against child labour (workers, employers, youth, NGOs, schools, medias…). The portal derives its name from June 12th, the World Day Against Child Labour. It aims to create a worldwide network of partners mobilized against child labour and to bring attention to the issue of child labour from June 12th to June 12th, until child labourers are finally given the chance to enjoy their rights as children and one day realize their full potential as the adults that they will become.

Get involved in the Decent Work agenda

The elimination of child labour is an important aspect of Decent Work. Child labour not only prevents children from acquiring the skills and education they need for a better future, it also perpetuates poverty and affects national economies. Withdrawing children from child labour, providing them with education and assisting their families with training and employment opportunities contribute directly to creating decent work for adults.

Decent Work, Decent Life Campaign

The Decent Work Alliance, which consists of the the ITUC, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Solidar, the Global Progressive Forum and Social Alert Intertnational, launched the campaign in January 2007 at the World Social Forum. The campaign aims to place Decent Work at the core of development, economic, trade, financial and social policies at the national, regional and international level. A specific Decent Work, Decent Life Campaign for Women was launched, on 8th March 2008, for the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Day.

Spread the message and build partnerships

Trade unions are well placed to influence the attitude of workers families, children and their parents. Raise awareness among your members and among adult workers through publicity, posters, campaigns, workshops or educational events. Develop child labour modules in your programmes, organise seminars or conference on child labour or use the mass media. You can also join forces and work with others, such as employers’ organisations, consumers’ organisations, NGOs, child labourers’ families, teachers and social workers.

Monitor the development of child labour

Trade unions are well placed to undertake information-gathering and to develop appropriate policies and effective plans to take actions against child labour. Trade unions need to gather detailed information. Collecting local and national data will help to identify where the worst forms of child labour are to be found and will aid in the evaluation of programmes to combat these forms of child labour.

You can for example:

* Collect stories, pictures and other evidence of children engaged in labour. * Assess the working environment in which children are working. * Record where child labour is being used.
* Organize or take part in surveys.

Use the supervisory machinery of international institutions

If your country has ratified the ILO conventions, your trade union can use the supervisory mechanisms to pressure your government to take adequate and effective measures:

* Get the copies of reports submitted by your government to the ILO and feel free to send comments on them to the ILO. * If you think the law and/or practice does not conform to a convention adopted in your country, consider reporting to the ILO and discuss this with the national and/or international organization to which you are affiliated.

Participate in tripartite dialogue

Tripartite dialogue is central to social stability and to sustainable growth and development. Use the tripartite dialogue between trade unions, government and employers to improve the legislation and its enforcement, and to define policies and programmes to combat the worst forms of child labour and to monitor their implementation.

Collective bargaining to combat child labour

Collective bargaining is traditional trade union tool and a way for trade unions to interact with employers. It has served the trade union movement
well in improving wages and working conditions, and it has proven to be effective in influencing what occurs in the workplace.

Promote the international labour standards

As explained earlier in this guide, where the international labour standards are respected, children are far more likely to be in school than at work. Promoting the universal respect of international labour standards is then another way to help tackle child labour not only in your country but also in other countries.

Pressure your government for an ILO Convention on
Domestic Workers

Domestic work is one of the most common forms of child labour. The Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) decided in March 2008 to include the item “Decent Work for Domestic Workers” on the agenda of the 99th session (2010) of the International Labour Conference. If your country is represented at the ILO Governing Body, then with your national center, urge your government to support the proposal to draw up an international convention specifically designed to protect domestic workers.


Internet and new technologies are fast, easy and affordable ways to promote your actions as well as to broadcast your message to a wider audience. There are hundreds of ways to get your message known; the only requirements are to be creative and to reach people where they are online. If you have a camera, record videos of your actions and/or a documentary about child labour, put them on Youtube or similar websites.

What can you do?
Participate in the World Day for Decent Work
On October 7 2008, the trade union movement is organizing a World Day for Decent Work (WDDW). This is an unparalleled opportunity for trade unions and organizations interested in Decent Work all around the world to join a broad global mobilization involving a large number of people and a wide range of activities. There are three themes that you can connect your activities to on the World Day itself:

* rights at work
* solidarity
* ending poverty and inequality

Each of these themes can easily be linked with child labour and should fit into your existing child labour activities.

Target Audience
Help others to eradicate child labour
Child labour may not be a big problem in your own country, but there is always the option of helping some other countries. Help your friends in India or in Democratic Republic of Congo or somewhere else to fight against child labour! Direct support to children

When it is possible, trade unions and others can provide direct assistance to working children and their parents to help: * remove children from work;
* rehabilitate child-labourers and get them into school; and * develop apprenticeships for former child labourers|

Demonstrations, when wisely used, are a very good trade union tool. * Organize a march against child labour and finish it outside a politically strategic building. * Use and display banners, flags and other materials in symbolic or strategic places. Your banners can include slogans, signatures, handprints or drawings. * Organize a child labour information stand in the main shopping street of your city or in other busy public places. Get in touch with your regional or national Global March coordinator The Global March Against Child Labour has a presence in more than 140 countries. Coordinating your efforts with the Global March Communication Channels | 11 |

Communication Mode
The main communication channels are:
1- television
4-interactive theatre

Television is one of the most effective media of our times. Several studies have shown the impact of television on everyday lives of the viewers. Television has proved extremely effective as a channel for conveying development messages.

ITA can make use of television in two ways.
(a): By liaising with the producers of the television programmes that often comment on economic and social issues and by making efforts to convince them to put child domestic labour on their agenda. (b): By working with local cable operators to ensure that telecast video animation prepared for the project.

b) Radio Popularity of radio varies in the urban, suburban and rural areas. After losing its glory in the urban areas of the country, it is staging a comeback in the form of FM stations. However, Radio is a popular medium of information and entertainment in the rural areas. Radio provides an effective and cost effective way to reach the target audiences. Some programmes of Radio Lahore are particularly popular with the target audiences. An effort will be made to use these programmes to convey the message. For this purpose the project staff will meet and keep in touch with the presenters of these programmes.

The government has issued licenses for FM radio stations all over the country. The communication staff of the project will keep a close watch on such a development in the area and will try to make the best use of a communication opportunity if it appears in the form of an FM radio in the country. c) Newspapers Newspaper is an effective source of communication in urban centres. It has different categories like magazine or periodical containing public news, reports of events, and commentaries. The Project team will hold forums, seminars and workshop with media personnel to highlight the issue of child domestic labour. The project team will coordinate with editors of newspapers for an effective media campaign in the form of features, articles and dissemination of information. d) Interactive Theatre Street drama has been a popular folk art in the subcontinent for centuries. Traditionally street theatres were used to dramatise mythical and folk romances.

Lately, this medium has been modified to address social issues. A strong case can be made for street theatres as a medium of communicating information about sensitive issues. Plays can be adopted to be culturally appropriate and context sensitive. Theatre provides a public and non-intrusive forum for communication. In addition, theatre is an ideal medium to reach target groups and facilitate immediate feedback. Pre-play entertainment can be used to gather the crowd, followed by a street play. The performance is followed by an interactive session in which audience engage in a discussion about the change in the situation portrayed in the play.

Advertisement/ Pamphlet
*Public Notice*

Concluding Remarks
The literature on child labor is an illustration of abundance and anarchy. Theoretical writings on the subject are relatively few though one finds theoretical insights in many unexpected papers and books which may be otherwise purely empirical or descriptive. The empirical writings on child labor are numerous but they are usually not founded on any theory. By bringing together68 the main theoretical ideas, this survey hopes to encourage not just further theoretical research but empirical work which is analytically better founded. Also evident from this survey is the fact that there is no unique prescription. Should child labor be banned outright?

Should the WTO be given the responsibility of enforcing restrictions on child labor through the use of trade sanctions? Should there be a legal minimum wage for adults so as to make it unnecessary for parents to send their children to work? The answer depends on the context. It was argued in this paper that there is much that can and ought to be done, but the precise policy to be followed depends on the economic milieu for which the prescription is being sought. The main policy divide is between legal interventions and what may be called collaborative interventions, that is, public action which alters the economic environment such that parents of their own accord prefer to withdraw the children from the labor force. The availability of good schools, the provision of free meals, effort to bolster adult wages, are examples of collaborative interventions.

We have discussed examples and given arguments to show that such interventions are, in general, a desirable way of curbing child labor. However, many of these actions may not be feasible. There may not be money enough in the government’s coffers to run better schools or to improve the infrastructure which would result in higher adult wages. In such circumstances, should government resort to legal action to restrict child labor? There seems to be some agreement, that some minimal restrictions, such as children being prevented from working in hazardous occupations or under bonded labor conditions, are worth enforcing legally. It is true that one can always think of some circumstance where even such a minimal law will work to the detriment of the child.


Link1: http://www.ilo.org/ipec/Campaignandadvocacy/wdacl/lang–en/index.htm Link2: http://www.viewpointonline.net/the-solution.html
Link3: http://www.goodweave.org/child_labor_campaign
Link4: http://www.alliance2015.org/index.php?id=education
Link6: http://stopchildlabor.org/?p=2528
Link7: http://www.globalmarch.org/

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