“Twice a year in Carrickmacross and surrounding towns a fair was held where men and girls rented their labour to well-to-do farmers for six months. It was Ireland’s version of the slave market.”
(Patrick Kavanagh ‘The Hired Boy’)
As you know by my blogs, that I do have varied interests in life and the living all the way from fashion, humour, blondes & photos, even frogs et funerals to anything in-between to the more serious matters of current affairs, politics and policies, so here is a more serious one on this Children’s Day in Finland. This is an updated entry of autumn 2006.
A Few Facts on the Child Labour/Slavery:
- Child labour is a pervasive problem throughout the world, especially in developing countries. Africa and Asia together account for over 90 percent of total child employment. (World Bank Org.)
- Children work the longest hours and are the worst paid of all labourers (The International Labour Office ILO in the World Bank Study Bequele and Boyden 1988).
- Just 5 per cent of child labour worldwide is for the export industry. The rest is for local agriculture and domestic work in people’s homes. (The International Labour Organisation estimate)
- One in eight children (179 million) around the world are involved in the worst forms of child labour – work which is hazardous to their physical, mental or moral well being. (The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimate. BBC article(old) estimate 246 million (from years ago).
- In Africa one in three children have jobs.
- There are an estimated 500,000 child soldiers worldwide.
CHILD LABOR: ISSUES, CAUSES AND INTERVENTION (World Bank Org.)
I did some research into the matter, so I decided to compile a few thoughts and facts on the same. First of all, it is not a new phenomenon but has been since time immemorial in almost every country in the world. We in the Western Europe do not have it blatantly into our face presently, but nevertheless it is there, as more and more of these children are smuggled into our towns and even into our neighbourhoods.
Secondly, as we see from the Facts above that I listed: only 5 per cent of the child labour is involved with the export business in the countries, the rest being in the domestic trades in their respective nations. This piece of news is most certainly ‘news’ to me for I have thought that the children would have been the main slave labour for producing export goods.
Anybody who has read/seen the films about the Dickens’ books like ‘Oliver Twist’ is acutely aware that the west has had their share of the children being treated as ‘nothing, nobody’ until the compulsory education, the child allowance and the general benevolence towards children became more of the norm. I am using that expression because as we know the child abuse is still rather widespread – but just in another way. The opening quote on this entry by Patrick Kavanagh was true to many other nations’ children in the times past, including Finland.
Even more facts:
- The International Labour Organization in 2005 estimated at least 2.4 million people have been trafficked.
- The United Nations estimates that 1.5 million children under 16 are trafficked worldwide each year. (Daily Telegraph article online 4.6.2006)
UNICEF CHILD LABOUR QUIZZ in this link.
Fired Up Blonde, Riihele xx
The solution to this problem lies in my mind:
With the LEADERS of these nations who have the power to change the circumstances of these children through the legislation via education to empower them. Also, the children’s allowance et cetera to make it worthwhile, so that the parents need not ‘sell’ or be forced to ‘hand over’ their children to this slavery. (It is the relatives in many cases who are forced to hand in the children as pawns for life because of debts accumulated.)
There is no excuse to say that there are no funds; I will not buy into that as other nations have done it with the means that they had at the time e.g. Finland from 1948 started to pay children’s allowance even though it was only three years after the wars while at the same time still paying both to Russia (reparation) and USA (loan) huge amounts of money and after losing tens of thousands of men in their best working age at the WWII.
The International Community at large through e.g. organizations* to implement pressure on the leadership in these nations to stop treating their young worse than cattle and give them life as a human beings fully participating in their own life and living.
( aka *ILO, World Bank, UNICEF et cetera)
I have already quoted articles by The World Bank, ILO – The International Labor Organisation et cetera – meaning: they know the problem and it is the high time to do something about it all instead just compiling more figures of the same!!
There are other things as the international business and manufacturing industry that many mentioned in the comments previously: yes shame and name them.
This will solve the other 5 per cent of the actual problem.
Only 5 per cent of the children are made to work in the export trade. That means that the 95 per cent are not. (These figures by ILO = The International Labour Organisation).
Child Matters pun in the name is this that a CHILD DOES MATTER; and also ‘matters’ as in subjects, issues, items, topics, questions and things concerning children.