Goal on child labour ‘fanciful’
A GOAL to stamp out child labour by 2025 is out of touch with global realities and could push many working children into worse poverty and marginalisation, a group of academics said this week as they called for more realistic targets.
The UN launched the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour last week, saying urgent action was needed to meet the goal as Covid-19 puts more children at risk of underage work. “Removing them from work is no help if this drives them deeper into the famine and broken lives that the work was undertaken to mitigate,” said an open letter signed by 101 professors and researchers and published by Open Democracy.
Instead of basing anti-child labour targets on “emotional and ideological convictions”, the academics said policies should consider the varied experiences and coping mechanisms of working children and their families, as well as scientific research.
“The current global effort to eradicate child labour is based on the experiences of the ideal of white, Western, middle-class childhoods,” said one of the signatories, Tatek Abebe, professor of childhood studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. “… the reality of children’s lives in most parts of the world is not labourfree.”