World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) was observed on June 12, 2019. It was introduced to focus on the extent of child labour worldwide and the efforts required to eliminate it. The theme for the year is “Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams!”. The International Labour Organization (ILO) describes the term child labour as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity and that is harmful to physical and mental development.
- In 2002, the ILO declared June 12 as the World Day Against Child Labour.
- The ILO marked its 100th anniversary in 2019 in advancing social justice and promoting decent work. The protection of children is embedded in the Constitution of ILO (Preamble). One of the first Conventions adopted by the ILO was on Minimum Age in Industry (No. 5, 1919).
- 2019 also marked 20 years since the adoption of the ILO’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182).
- As per ILO, even today, 52 million children are in child labour. Child labour occurs in all sectors. 7 out of every 10 children work in agricultural sector.
- It is trying to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UNSDG) Target 8.7. It states: “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”.
WDACL in India:
- In India, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani inaugurated the National Consultation Workshop on Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Rescue and Rehabilitation of Child Labour in New Delhi. It was organised by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).
- Senior officials from Department of Labour & Employment, Department of Women & Child Development, Department of Mines & Geology, Department of Legal Affairs and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) & State Nodal Officers from all the States and Union territories attended the Conference.
- NCPCR is developing a Standard Operating Procedures on “Rescue & Rehabilitation of Children involved in Child Labour”.
- The Ministry of Labour & Employment and V.V. Giri National Labour Institute (VVGNLI) in collaboration with the ILO organised a ‘Technical Consultation on Evolving Strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal, Target 8.7 and Elimination of Child Labour in India’ in New Delhi.
- Heeralal Samariya, Secretary of Minister of Labour and Employment said that Multi-pronged strategy was adopted by government to combat child labour. He stressed on the importance of implementation of the various acts and rules to eliminate the child labour.
- Census 2011 of India depicted a decline in child labour. It has come down to 1.01 crore as compared to 1.26 crore in 2001.
- Apart from the quarterly newsletter ‘Child Hope’ of VVGNLI, a song on the elimination of child labour, developed by the ILO and the video-clip on the elimination of child labour developed by the Child Labour Division, Ministry of Labour & Employment was launched.
- The efforts taken by the central government in ratifying the ILO Conventions 182 and 138 were appreciated by Dagmar Walter, Director of ILO, New Delhi.
- ILO Convention number 138 inter-alia prescribes that there should be a minimum age of entry to employment which should not be less than the age of compulsory education or 15 years (relaxable to 14 years in the case of developing countries). ILO Convention 182 inter-alia, mentions the minimum age for working in hazardous occupations as 18 years. As on date, 167 countries across the world have ratified ILO Convention 138 and 179 countries have ratified ILO Convention 182.
♦ Founded: 1919
♦ Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Founder: Paris Peace Conference, 1919
♦ Director General: Guy Ryder