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June 12, 2023, International Day against Child Labor

On the International day against child labor, World Federation of Trade Union, with all its affiliates across the globe, recommits itself to fight against all forms of exploitation of children. WFTU holds its form positions, to end child labor and restore the right of children to a childhood

21 years have passed since the adoption of this day by the United Nations in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labor and the international initiatives of action and efforts to eliminate it, the evil thrives deeper in the exploitative system of capitalism. Until this day children as young as 5 years of age are performing hazardous jobs such as underwater mining, heavy lifting, the handling of dangerous factory machines etc. Majority of the children are engaged in agriculture where they handle poisonous chemicals. Of these 79, million are regularly involved in jobs that pose an immediate danger to physical and mental health.  One in four of all victims of trafficking are children involved in forced labor according to UNICEF data. Child slavery is still persistent. According to the International Labor Organization 22 thousand children die every year while at work.

Child labor in the world has risen to meteoric heights in the last years. Between 2016 and 2020 — for the first time in 20 years — the number of working children worldwide has increased. The unprecedented economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the capitalist crisis and wars, are pushing children into exploitative and dangerous child labor further.

Poverty, low literacy, food insecurity are the causes that drive child labor.  ILO estimates that a one percent increase in poverty in a country leads to at least a 0.7 percent increase in child labor rates. The bulk of child labor is concentrated in the poorest countries. Rising poverty, the closure of schools and increased food insecurity will mean millions more children will be forced to work in the coming years.

Worst forms of child labor are rampant in the conflict and post conflict settings too. Children are used directly into the hostilities and engaged in supportive tasks and sexual purposes in the armed conflicts.  Use of children in the armed conflict is the worst form of child labor and human rights violation.

Child labor is unjust in all dimensions and the systemic roots of child labor are in the barbaric capitalist system. Child labor is the norm under capitalism and is entirely normalized in the capitalist system.

WFTU is committed to its objective to establish an equitable world order which will ensure to everyone the possibility to develop and thrive as human beings. We shall recommit ourselves to this objective and intensify our action to end the inhuman exploitation of children. Through struggles and action every child around the world can enjoy their right for childhood away from exploitation.

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