Every year at this time, members of Education International (EI) join with other trade unions and concerned citizens around the globe to mark the World Day Against Child Labour, 12 June.
“Ten years ago, the international community adopted the landmark ILO Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labour. As we celebrate the important progress that has been made since then, we must not lose sight of the ongoing challenges – especially exploitation of girls. Ultimately, though, our goal is to eliminate all forms of child labour,” said Jan Eastman, Deputy General Secretary of EI, which is the global union federation representing 30 million teachers and education workers in more than 170 countries.
Around the world more than 200 million children – half of them girls – are forced to labour in fields and factories, in households and on the streets. Because of gender discrimination in the family, the community and all levels of society, girls are more likely to be deprived of education than are boys. Girls endure additional hardships and face extra risks, often hidden from the public eye in situations of domestic servitude. Girls are also more likely to be victims of trafficking and extreme exploitation through prostitution, pornography, bonded labour and slavery.
To address these issues, EI member organisations are planning a wide range of activities including television advertising and other awareness-raising campaigns, rallies and marches to Education Ministry offices, workshops and research projects. Teachers’ unions will be active in Albania, Bulgaria, Burundi, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Honduras, India, Kenya, Morocco, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere.
EI and the ILO have collaborated to produce lesson aids for classroom use and a new publication entitled Give girls a chance: End child labour. It aims to educate teacher trade unionists, civil society and governments about the urgent need to take action against child labour, in particular the multiple disadvantages faced by girls. EI has also produced other materials for teachers, including posters and pencils for use in its awareness-raising campaign with governments and the public. All materials may be downloaded from: www.ei-ie.org
“Quality public education is the best solution to the scourge of child labour,” Eastman said. “Teachers have a key role to play in helping to bring about a world in which all children – both girls and boys – can claim their universal right to free quality public education. This is our goal, on World Day Against Child Labour, and all year round.”
For more information: Nancy Knickerbocker, EI Senior Coordinator, Communications +32 476 85 07 01 or firstname.lastname@example.org