INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST CHILD SLAVERY

April 16 is the day that commemorates the murder of Iqbal Masih, a 14-year-old boy who at the age of 4 was sold to a carpet factory in Punjab, India. The price he was paid to settle a family debt was €1 a day (€1 = €152.77) and said otherwise: Iqbal had to work 153 days -5 months- to recover €1. At the age of 12 he was able to escape and became a remarkable activist. At the age of 14 he was murdered.

Child slavery manifests itself through different forms of submission: forced labour, child labour, domestic slavery, forced marriage, recruitment to be a soldier and sexual exploitation. Slave children are taking on illegal, dangerous and degrading work; all this in endless daily days of 12 hours and more. It is common for them not to go to school.

According to data published last year, it is estimated that there were 152 million slave boys and girls worldwide, although other sources speak of 400 million, between 5 and 17 years old. The ILO has promoted an agreement to set the minimum age to start working, in this way it seeks to protect the little ones. Of the 171 countries that signed it, 78 have established the minimum age of 15 years, 44 the age of 16 years and 49 the age of 14.

It is estimated that almost half of children who are victims of child labour, about 73 million, work in dangerous jobs. They are those harmful activities that can put your physical and mental health at risk.

For example, when children work as soldiers, in mines (cobalt), in crop fields that use toxic pesticides, in construction or even if they are forced into prostitution.

According to the statistics, children are at greater risk of working if they are children than girls. Around 88 million children work in the world and about 64 million girls.

Child labour is concentrated in the poorest countries with the greatest inequality. There, families cannot afford to send their children to school and need their help to move forward. Without training it will be very difficult for them to have a better job in the future.

Every June 12th, the World Day against Child Labour is commemorated to raise awareness among the population. In addition, the UN has declared 2021 the International Year for the Eradication of Child Labour.

These initiatives aim to make countries commit to creating laws or strengthening existing ones to prevent the exploitation of children. Between 2000 and 2016, child labour fell by 38% worldwide, and the Sustainable Development Goals (UDC) plan to eliminate any type of child labour with a view to 2025. As an example, Amnesty International has published the names of some companies that profit from child labour in palm oil plantations: Colgate-Palmolive, Kellogg's, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Unilever...

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