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Where are Children at Conferences on Child Labor?

  • Published on
    November 14, 2017
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  • Category:
    Child Slavery, Survivor Stories
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The International Labour Organization (ILO) is having its IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labor in Buenos Aires this week. But some are asking: where are the opinions of children at a conference that is supposed to discuss their rights and needs?

In an op-ed in Thomson Reuters Foundation, Tim Pilkington from World Vision UK, asks this simple question about how victims and survivors of child labor, including forced child labor, are represented at global conferences like this.

According to ILO findings, at least 152 million children around the world are victims of child labour. The plight of millions of children forced to toil in fields, mines, brick kilns. The most vulnerable children are subject the very worst forms of child labour, forced into sexual exploitation or recruited as soldiers. This is a blot on the conscience of the world. It has no place in the 21st century.

Nothing will change in a lasting or meaningful way for children if they do not have a say in their future and if their voices are not heard. They are the most important stakeholders in this particular issue. Indeed, it is their inalienable right to be involved.

Pilkington adds that children and young people constantly say that they want to be involved in policy making that affects their lives. On the topic of child labor, he believes that children a best positioned to talk about their experiences and conditions in their countries.

Justice, a 16-year old from Ghana, explained that “Children are mostly unskilled and provide a cheap source of labor, making them an attractive option for many greedy employers. Can you imagine that these greedy employers in my country employ children as young as 13 years of age? These children work on construction fields, cocoa farms and stone quarries as well as in the mines.”


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Sanjeev Sheel
6 years ago

Shameful, disgusting and unacceptable – YES!! where are the children and their broken shattered thoughts on occasions when we sit down in 5-Star comfort to discus, express opinions concerning a world far from our own with proposals which hold no meaning or relevance for the target audience we are trying to rescue. Boys agen six, seven or maybe eight, at 0730 hours on a winters morning, breaking pieces of coal and wood with stones to fire a street food vendor’s oven. That, is social justice. .

Ana Maria Ramos Carneiro
Ana Maria Ramos Carneiro
6 years ago

É inacreditável as agressões diversas que as crianças ainda sofrem nos dias de hoje, trabalho forçado, trabalho escravo, pedofilia, violência física e diversas outras; sendo que adultos deveriam proteger,dar uma vida segura, com educação, saúde, boa alimentação, diálogo para que possam crescer e fazerem uma sociedade saudável. Mas não é o que ocorre. É necessário, é urgente que se mude este quadro violento, inaceitável, repugnante.

g. mills
g. mills
6 years ago
Reply to  Milton Bullock

i’m sorry, but i don’t have your faith in any higher power stepping in to end this completely unjust and immoral world we live in. it is up to us to do all we can to end the grip that the global elite have over the whole world economy. they are the ones who are at the centre of all things wrong on this planet. they profit from war, corrupt countries and force their supply chains to break laws to keep contracts. they have to be held accountable, and we need uniform global laws to do this

g. mills
g. mills
6 years ago

the children deserve to have their voices heard, but this is easier said than done. for a start, in a lot of places where these children work, they only there because they are the only means of income for their whole family. most don’t send their children to work because they are cruel, or lazy, it’s because they can’t get work themselves and that is due to the greed of employers. so even if these children can be contacted, they may well be very reluctant to talk for fear of reprisal.

Milton Bullock
6 years ago

In Global Reality; irregardless of what world renowned scholars may say. It has been revealed down through the centuries; as well as profoundly documented. Children universally; don’t mean anything of any significance to those narcissistic, egotistical scoffers who are helplessly and selfishly consumed in themselves and their ultimate gain.

But God is about to step on the scene and correct once and for all humankind’s iniquities!

Milton Bullock / CEO & Founder

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