Did you know as of writing this article there have been over 350 billion hours of child labor exploited this year? Or, that over half of all victims of child labor are between the ages of 5 and 11? These heartbreaking statistics are the realities happening currently in every corner of the world.
Stolen Childhoods :
Child labor is defined by the International Labour Organisation as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. Children are being robbed of their childhood experiences in a time they should be growing, playing and exploring their human experience, and forced to work in factories and fields to produce products we consume. It is imperative to research the companies you support to ensure there is no child labor used. Take a look at these additional facts on child labor.
Child Labor Facts:
- Worldwide 218 million children between 5 and 17 years are in employment; 152 million them are victims of child labor.
- 73 million work in hazardous child labor conditions.
- 25% of all hazardous child labor is done by children less than 12 years old.
- Almost half of child labor 72.1 million is to be found in Africa, 62 million in the Asia and the Pacific, 10.7 million are located in the Americas, 1.2 in Arab States, and 5.5 million in Europe and Central Asia.
- It is estimated that 88 million are boys and 64 million are girls.
- The number of children in armed conflicts have risen to 300,000 over the past decade.
- 20 million child workers are employed in factories that make garments, carpets, toys, matches and hand-rolled cigarettes.
- Child labor spans from agriculture to industrial mining and servitude
- In 1990, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of a Child which was ratified by 193 countries to stop child labor.
How can I make an impact:
Tier 1: Global Goodness
- Inform yourself and those around you on the realities of child labor. We tend to do better when we know better so spreading the truth of child labor is imperative for change.
- Be a conscious consumer by researching the companies you support. Do they support no child labor, fair wage, and fair trade? If not, research other companies that put these and other basic human rights as a requirement of their business.
Tier 2: Planet Protector
- All of Action 1
- Start shopping at local farmers markets or grow more of your own food. Large agriculture operations are more likely to use child labor labor.
- If you are a shareholder or investor, use your voice to ensure that your companies support humane, sustainable, just practices that don’t include child labor.
Tier 3: Earth Angel
- All of Action 1 & 2
- Write Congress demanding they tighten the regulations of child labor.
- “The change starts within each one of us, and ends only when all children are free to be children.” – Craig Kielburger