CHILD LABOUR TODAY
In Canada, kids now spend their days in school rather than at work. Depending on which province or territory they live in, youngsters here can legally start working when they’re around fourteen. There are exceptions for some types of work, such as farming and theatrical performances. Teenagers are typically not allowed to work during school hours.
But the ugly reality of child labour persists elsewhere. The United Nations estimates that eleven per cent of the world’s child population — about 168 million children — work, many of them full-time. Nearly half of those children work in hazardous conditions, are forced into illicit work, or are enslaved. A 2014 study concluded that the worst countries for child labour are Eritrea, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, and Sudan, with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Yemen, and Burundi rounding out the unenviable top ten. Child labour activists say Canadians shouldn’t feel too superior, because some of our imported goods have a high risk of having child labour used in their production.
The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and France have all passed federal legislation targeting products made with child labour and forced labour, and the UN’s sustainable development goals call for the eradication of all child labour by 2025. —
A five-year- old girl sells carrots on a street in Bogor, Indonesia.