Conny Reuter, SOLIDAR Secretary General: Child Labour – Indignation is not enough

13 06 2014

The Football World Cup started yesterday in Brazil on the World Day against Child Labour. What a coincidence knowing that many of the official and non-official supporters’-, staff- and sports clothes have been produced by children under inhuman and indecent working conditions. When a factory in Bangladesh crashes burying thousands of children, men and women, indignation is high, but often ends when the consumer is confronted to a choice driven by a difference in price. The response should be increased awareness that every price also has a social price: with over 168 million children suffering from child labour worldwide and half of them in jobs that put their health and safety at risk, the ILO has rightly stressed the need to address the root that causes child labour and has called governments to step up their efforts to extend social protection in order to help keep children out of child labour: social protection enables access to education, health care and nutrition and plays a critical role in the fight against child labour.

The World Day against Child Labour follows a few days after the ILO released its World Social Protection Report 2014/15, which shows that many children do not receive the child and family benefits they need to realise their potential. Social underinvestment in children jeopardises their rights and their future, including their right to be protected from child labour.

In this sense the World Day 2014 calls for: 1) Action to introduce, improve and extend social protection, in line with the ILO Recommendation No. 202 on social protection floors. 2) National social security systems that are sensitive to children’s needs and help fight child labour. 3) Social protection that reaches out to especially vulnerable groups of children.

Social protection plays a significant role in ending child labour. Pensions, as well as unemployment, maternity, employment injury and disability benefits also help to prevent situations where children have to work to supplement inadequate or insecure family incomes or enter child labour due to death, injury, sickness or other sudden income shocks. Yet, worldwide, only 12 per cent of unemployed workers receive unemployment benefits; only 28 per cent of women in employment are protected through maternity benefits, and only 52 per cent of those over retirement age receive a pension.

We as SOLIDAR support the implementation of the ILO SPF Recommendation 202 and together with our members we will continue to campaign for Decent Work, for Global Social Protection and against child labour. Social Protection is essential to eradicate child labour! It is a step towards more Social Justice!

Join the Red Card to Child Labour campaign

 

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