Child labour is work done by children under the age of 15 that is physically and mentally harmful, and interferes with their education, and social or psychological development.
Victims of child labour mostly live in third world countries and work in damaging and hazardous conditions like forestry, explosives manufacturing and mining. Others will work as domestic servants in homes, or in plantations. They generally work 12 hour days or longer.
Child Labour occurs for a number of reasons, the main being poverty. When families barely make enough to survive, children work to help themselves and their families cope. Child Labour also stems from big companies wanting to increase their profits by underpaying children.
In many countries where child labour exists, there are no laws enforced to protect children. Some of these countries also ban trade unions so there is no one to protect the rights of workers.
There are many approaches to how we can reduce child labour, but a simple solution does not exist. Here are some ideas:
Consumers can stop buying products that are made using child labour. You should check the products you buy and find out where and how they are made (ask the shop assistant if you’re not sure.)
Australian unions raise awareness of child labour issues through their involvement with the Australian Child Labour Network and APHEDA – Union Aid Abroad.