End the exploitation of children

Little hands: In this file photo from 2016, a child and a woman break rocks extracted from a cobalt mine at a copper quarry and cobalt pit in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, which is the world’s largest producer of the rare metal crucial for making batteries used in mobile phones and electric vehicles. — AFP

THE United Nations has declared 2021 the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. The International Trade Union Confede-ration (ITUC) believes that decent jobs for adults, full respect for workers’ rights, universal social protection, and free, quality education for all children are the keys to achieving the elimination of child labour and meeting UN Sustainable Develop-ment Goal 8.7 by 2025.

(The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals adopted by the UN’s General Assembly that form a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. Goal 8.7 is about eradicating forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking, and child labour in all its forms by 2025.)Mandating due diligence in global supply chains, including in agriculture, where more than 70% of child labourers work, is also essential to ending the scourge of child exploitation.“Progress has been made in recent years, but even before the economic and social destruction of the Covid-19 pandemic, there were still more than 150 million children at work instead of in school. Child labour still exists in every region due to the failure to ensure jobs for adults, insufficient investment in education, and the lack of social protection for households.

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