Associated Press. (1998, May 26). Agency wants ban on some child labor. The Daily Oklahoman.
"At least one-third of the world’s hundreds of millions of working children are employed in hazardous jobs," according to the United Nations labor agency. Working in industries such as mining or construction, recent surveys indicate that nearly 50% of working children, ages 5-14, refer to their work as "stressful"; about 60% note that they leave work "exhausted"; and about 80% reveal that "they had no days off or free time."
Concerned about child exploitation, the U.N. labor agency said that it will convene an international meeting "to abolish extreme forms of child labor" during the 1998 International Labor Conference, an annual gathering of governments and workers’ and employers’ groups. The meeting will strive for "criminal penalties, preventive measures and rehabilitation of child victims."
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- How do these statistics affect you and your work with kids?
- How are children exploited where you live?
- What are the answers?
- Can organizations such as the International Labor Conference be effective in combatting unruly child labor? What other organizations or individuals can be effective?
- Realistically, what can concerned individuals do?
- How do kids in your youth group respond to hearing about how kids live in other parts of the world?
- Hazardous child labor is criminal and shocking. It is also prevalent and typical in many parts of the world.
- Children are exploited worldwide in a variety of ways. Sometimes the exploitation is more subtle.
- Often, children work to support their impoverished families. Families must become economically self-sufficient, so that the children do not have to work. The solutions to ending harsh child labor are complex.
- Organizations and individuals worldwide must cooperatively seek answers. Children should be allowed to remain children.
Kathryn Q. Powers cCYS