Today, on World Day Against Child Labour, while we adults sit in our air-conditioned offices and crib about our paychecks, some 152 million children between the ages of five and 17 are being forced into labour under unspeakable conditions.
There are more horrifying statistics where that comes from, with International Labour Organization (ILO). The ILO, which launched World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to grab global attention to the terrifying figures of child labour, shared some of these figures in their World Day Against Child Labour program this year.
Check out these figures by the ILO on child labour:
Of the 152 million children involved in child labour worldwide, 73 million perform hazardous work.
Hazardous labour comprises of working in manual scavenging, construction, agriculture, mines, factories, as street hawkers, domestic help, etc.
Such labour, the ILO points out, “endangers the health, safety and moral development of children,”. Not only that, it also takes away a normal childhood and proper education from the children.
Hazardous child labour affects 45 million boys and 28 million girls around the world.
In recent years, the number of children between the ages of five and 11 involved in hazardous labour has increased to 19 million.
The horror doesn’t end there…
According to 2015 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data:
Seven children under the age of 14 and 10 children aged between 14 and 18 died due to factory and machine-related accidents.
Nine children under the age of 14 and 11 children aged between 14 and 18 years died in “mines or quarry disasters”.
While it is not clear if the children died in these circumstances while working working here, multiple investigative reports have shown a tendency of child labour in such cases.
India’s worst case of child labour-related deaths in mica mines
In 2016, an investigative report by Reuters claimed that India’s illegal mica mines had covered up the deaths of at least seven children killed in just two months.
“Investigations over three months in the major mica producing states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh found child labor rife, with small hands ideal to pick and sort the valued mineral that puts the sparkle in cosmetics and car paint,” said the report.
“Interviews with workers and local communities discovered children were not only risking their health in abandoned ‘ghost’ mines off official radars, but they were dying in the unregulated, crumbling mines, with seven killed since June.”
“Children are more vulnerable to risk than adults. Urgent action is needed to ensure no child under the age of 18 is in hazardous child labour,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.
On this World Day Against Child Labour, a joint campaign has been launched with World Day for Safety and Health at Work (SafeDay) to improve the safety and health of young workers and end child labour.
The campaign also aims to “accelerate action to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 8.8 of safe and secure working environments for all workers by 2030 and SDG target 8.7 of ending all forms of child labour by 2025,”.