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World day against child labour

12/06/2015: General House

“Many children in the world do not have the freedom to play, to go to school, and end up being exploited as cheap labor,” said Pope Francis last Sunday after the Angelus in Saint Peter’s Square in Rome. His thoughts turned to the World Day Against Child Labour, which falls on June 12, during which the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus will also be celebrated. “I hope that the international community will commit itself diligently and constantly to promoting the active recognition of childhood rights,” added Pope Francis.

The international community is preparing to celebrate an important anniversary, which aims at drawing the attention of everyone, including governments and the civil society, on a problem that affects millions of children and young people in the world. In fact, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are about 120 million children between 5 and 14 years old involved in child labor; the phenomenon affects both girls and boys to the same extent.The main causes of child labor include: poverty and a lack of decent work for adults, as well as a lack of social protection and the inability to guaranteeschool attendance up to the minimum age for admission to employment to all children.
This year, the World Day Against Child Labour focuses on the importance of quality of education to effectively combat child labor. Urgent action is needed. In fact, in 2015, the international community is prepared to examine the reasons for which the development goals related to education were not achieved, and also to set new goals and new strategies.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO):

  • The total number of children involved in child labor has decreased by a third since 2000, from 246 million to 168 million. Of these, more than half, or 85 million, are involved in dangerous work.
  • The regions of Asia and the Pacific continue to record the highest number of child workers (almost 78 million, or 9.3% of the child population), but Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest incidence of child labor (59 million, more than 21%).  
  • In Latin America and the Caribbean there are 13 million (8.8%) of children involved in child labor, while in the Middle East and North Africa there are 9.2 million (8.4%). 
  • Agriculture continues to be the sector with the largest number of children involved in child labor (98 million, 59%), although the number of children employed in services (54 million) and industry (12 million) is not insignificant.
  • - There has been a 40% decrease in child labor of girls since 2000, while for males, the decrease has been 25%.

FMSI - Fondazione Marista per la Solidarietà Internazionale

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