How Can You Get Involved?
June 12 is World Day Against Child Labour … and it’s a day which calls all of us who care about justice to take action.
The reality today is that we’re living in an era of increasingly complex global supply chains, and many of the items we purchase are produced using various forms of slave and forced labour – and, in many cases, child labour. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 120 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are involved in child labour. They also state that “the persistence of child labour is rooted in poverty and lack of decent work for adults, lack of social protection, and a failure to ensure that all children are attending school through to the legal minimum age for admission to employment.” For this reason, this year’s campaign is focusing in on the role of quality education as one of the most important components in tackling child labour.
The two organisations behind JustUs – The Wellspring Foundation & The Elevation Project – believe strongly that education has the power to change the lives of children, no matter how challenging their circumstances. In our work in East Africa, we are experiencing the difference that can be made when all stakeholders in children’s education are equipped to provide learning environments where students can flourish. This is why we are so excited that there is a global call for increased investment in education as a positive step towards the eradication of child labour.
The World Day Against Child Labour is a day when governments and businesses are called to take action … but it is also a day when we as individuals are reminded that we can each make a difference. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the statistics, and by the sense that we are powerless to bring change. Guilt can also take over as we recognise that these realities are, in part, fuelled by the increasing demand for low-cost items from consumers in countries like Canada. But the truth is … we can, and we must, take steps to fight against the existence of child labour. Each step may seem small, but it can have a significant impact.Advocate for children forced into work. Ask gov. leaders to take action to combat child labour. #NoChildLabour Click To Tweet
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Join the fight against child slavery
You can advocate for children who are forced into work around the globe by asking the Canadian Government to take all action necessary to combat child labour in our supply chains.
A campaign currently being run by the Walk Free Foundation is also calling on the United Nations to prioritize slavery as one of the sustainable development goals. You can add your name to this petition here.
Make informed choices about the items you purchase
Many of the items we purchase here in Canada on a daily basis – including cocoa, coffee, tea, sugar, clothing, and jewellery – are at risk of having been produced using child labour. Learn more about where these products come from before you buy, and where possible choose local, direct trade, fair trade, ethically produced items. Some great resources for staying informed are Free2Work, Know the Chain, and Fair Trade Canada.
Invest in helping education in the majority world
There are many opportunities to invest your time and resources in helping see quality education become a reality for children in the majority world. Check out the work of The Elevation Project and The Wellspring Foundation for Education (just two of the many great organizations working in this field) to see how you can become involved.
Understand the issues
There are some great materials available to help you understand the issues around child labour. One great resource that gives a snapshot of this reality is an interactive guide produced by UNICEF & The Guardian. This guide focuses in on child labour in the fashion supply industry.
Also, check out the World Day Against Child Labour website for more resources & ideas.