Key tool of social protection in the fight against child labor

By Shimbo Pastory, CSSp.

Kilmarnock, UK. The world draws material and functional resources from all over the world to ensure that the social protection system for children is largely in place. There are many children to be rescued from the chains of oppressive work, undue for their age and maturity; and there are many others to protect so as not to fall into the same.

In 2002, the International Labor Organization (ILO) established the World Day Against Child Labor to foster campaigns and activism against children in child labour. ILO Conventions Nos. 138 and 182 deal directly with this issue. The first specifies the minimum age for admission to work and the second puts an end to the “worst forms of child labour”. The World Day Against Child Labor is celebrated every year on June 12.

Read also: Half of the world’s child laborers perform hazardous work

According to the ILO guidelines, specifically referred to as Recommendation No. 190, the worst forms of child labor include hazardous work, work that exposes children to physical, psychological or sexual abuse; working underground, underwater, at dangerous heights or in confined spaces; working with dangerous machines, equipment and tools or carrying heavy loads; exposure to hazardous substances, agents or processes, or to temperatures, noise levels or vibrations injurious to health; long hours, night work and unreasonable confinement to the employer’s premises.

This description is indicative of the seriousness of the problem on a global scale. The aim, however, is not only to rescue children who are forced into child labour, but also to rectify the structural and systemic influence. The social and governance system in place has a huge influence on people’s involvement in productive activities.

Read also: Large families linked to child labor

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Where the education system is dysfunctional, there are chances of both infiltration and wastage of actual and potential human resources invested in it. These people, who are ideal for the other system, such as education in this case, can hardly integrate effortlessly into other parastatals.

Children may feel pressured to work to save their impoverished families from starvation and want, to meet basic needs or to help pay for schooling, as the case may be. Yet this should not be the case, as legislation agreed and passed by many states around the world condemns and prohibits these forms of child labor.

Article 2.3 of Convention No. 138 stipulates that the minimum age “shall not be lower than the age of completion of compulsory schooling and, in any case, should not be lower than 15 years.

What are the experts saying?

Frances Gunn is a duty officer for children’s services and a PhD candidate at the Center for Child Welfare and Protection at the University of Stirling, Scotland, UK, and a seasoned child protection officer. childhood. In his view, child labor has existed throughout history in many different forms, however, Article 32 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) states that governments must protect children. children against work that is dangerous or likely to harm their health. If a child is therefore required to work, it can negatively impact development, health, safety and well-being in a number of different ways.

More broadly though, the body of evidence that underpins child development is clear on the importance of imaginative and structured play in supporting brain development and again this is supported by section 31 of the UNCRC which notes that every child has the right to play and relax.

Ms. Gunn points out that one of the consequences of engaging children in extreme labor is the reduction in their ability to attend and benefit from formal education. Lack of formal education is well documented to have significant short- and long-term impacts for children, in that, as children, it reduces the ability to form healthy relationships with peers, and in As adults, lack of formal education impacts future earning potential.

In line with other experts, Ms Gunn agrees that child labor is a difficult problem to solve and stresses the need for community-based peer mentoring initiatives to educate adults and children about the dangers of child labour.

Global Adoption

This year, the World Day Against Child Labor was preceded by a “week of action against child labour” which lasted from 3 to 12 June 2022. Overall, according to the interactive map provided by the ILO ( as of June 10), there has been a comparatively huge decrease in activism this year compared to last year, 2021, especially in Africa. Tanzania had no indication on the interactive statistics-based map that any activity was taking place.

On the Tanzanian situation, it would be pure ignorance to say that the problem does not exist. Some children are forced to graze animals, deprived of schooling, young girls are employed as servants and many are brought to cities or even taken abroad for inexplicable and dangerous activities.

However, the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, under the US Department of Labor, records findings that Tanzania is among the states that have children involved in the worst forms of child labor “including mining, quarrying and domestic work”, and also that there are gaps in the legal framework and enforcement of child labor laws, including insufficient labor inspectors relative to the size of the workforce Tanzanian work. It is a sign that there is a lot of work to be done both in structures and in policies for the good of the future generation.

Joel C. Hicks