10 Facts About the Latest Research on Child Labor in West African Cocoa Growing Areas from Tulane University:

[On July 30, 2015, Tulane University researchers released their latest study — “Survey Research on Child Labor in West African Cocoa Growing Areas”– we present highligths here written and compiled by Mary Donovan, contributing writer to the CLC.]

  1. Child labor in cocoa production in West Africa is increasing. The total numbers of children in cocoa production, child labor in cocoa production, and hazardous work by children in cocoa production in West Africa all increased from 2009/10 to 2013/14. In 2013/14 there were 2,260,407 children working in cocoa production in West Africa. 1,303,009 of those children work in Cote d’Ivoire and 957,398 work in Ghana.
  1. A plan to eliminate child labor in the industry exists. Fifteen years ago, representatives of the international cocoa industry signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol “to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa sectors of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.” The Protocol provides a framework for accountability and outlines action steps. The Ministers of Labor from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire signed a Declaration of Joint Action to support the implementation of the Protocol in 2010. In spite of this initiative, child labor in cocoa production in West Africa has increased.
  1. Cote d’Ivoire experienced an especially large growth. The numbers of children working in cocoa production increased by 59%, the number of children doing child labor in cocoa production increased by 48%, and the number of children doing hazardous work in cocoa production grew by 46%. Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s largest cocoa producer.
  1. The number of children working in cocoa production fell slightly in Ghana.
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10 Facts about Child Soldiers…

  • How do you define a ‘child soldier’? The UN Convention on the Rights of a Child (1990) defined childhood as under 18 years of age. In 1997 an International conference in Cape Town adopted the definition, “any person under 18 years of age who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity…” A key 2nd Conference in Paris 2007[1] concluded with a definition of, “any person below 18 years of age who is or who has been recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls used as fighters, cooks, porters, messengers, spies or for sexual purposes. It does not only refer to a child who is taking or has taken a direct part in hostilities.”
  • The Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 of the International Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers estimated there are 300,000-plus child soldiers at any point in time[2]. Forty percent of those are thought to be girls[3]. Most are aged between 13-17 years, but they are accounts of children as young as 7.
  • Why do they join how do they become child soldiers? Many children are forcible recruited and brain washed. Children are cheap requiring less pay and food, available in times of conflict when schools, homes and other places of infrastructure are destroyed, convenient as they are teachable and vulnerable to both political persuasion and violence – particularly when their primary care giver is threatened, violated or killed.
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The Top 10 Child Labor Stories of 2015

by Sally Greenberg

Executive Director, National Consumers League and Co-chair of the Child Labor Coalition

[Originally published 1/6/2016 in the Huffington Post]

sallyThere were plenty of ups and downs in the fight against child labor this year. With an estimated 168 million children still trapped in exploitative labor, including 85 million doing hazardous work, we have an ambitious agenda ahead of us in 2016. Here are 10 highs and lows from 2015:

  1. The U.S. Department of Labor’s international child labor programs avoided the ax of conservative appropriators in the Congressional budget package released on December 17. During the battle, the child labor advocacy community argued that the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) plays a vital role in the fight against child labor, which has seen a reduction of nearly 80 million children over the last 15 years. ILAB documents the prevalence of child labor on a country-by-country basis, and then uses that information to fund about $60 million in remediation programs each year. In the end, appropriators shaved off $5 million but kept these valuable programs intact.
  2. In June, India’s government provisionally approved a huge loophole in a 2012 ban on child work under the age of 14. Unfortunately, it allows children under that age to work in “family enterprises,” which will make child labor laws harder to enforce. Last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi noted that millions of Indian children said to be working in family businesses are actually sold into bonded labor and other forms of slavery. A New York Times editorial weighed in on the proposed policy in June, and the advocacy community continued to fight against the proposal as the year drew to a close.
  3. The battle against child labor in U.S. tobacco continued to gather strength in 2015. Altria Group, parent to three tobacco companies, implemented a new policy (announced in late 2014) that prohibits its growers from hiring children under 16. Implementing and monitoring such a policy presents challenges, and it’s difficult to gauge yet how well that policy is working, but it’s good to see a step forward and an acknowledgement that children and teens should not be harvesting this hazardous crop. The members of the Child Labor Coalition, which my organization coordinates, continue to press for a total ban on workers under 18. We organized a House and Senate briefing on child labor in tobacco this year. Legislation in the House, HR 1848, with 19 co-sponsors, and a companion bill in the Senate, S.974, with seven co-sponsors, would both ban child labor in tobacco. More than 40,000 individuals signed an AVAAZ.org petition asking President Obama and Secretary of Labor Perez to ban child labor in the crop.
  4. Child Labor in hazardous gold mining received focused attention in 2015. In April, ILAB, the CLC, and Human Rights Watch (HRW) convened a stakeholder meeting to improve child labor interventions in small-scale gold mining communities. In May, a government report from Burkina Faso revealed that nearly 20,000 children were working in small-scale gold mines–part of an upsurge over the last few years. In June, HRW released Precious Metal, Cheap Labor: Child Labor and Corporate Responsibility in Ghana’s Artisanal Gold Mines, documenting the use of child labor in Ghana’s unlicensed mines and the use of highly toxic mercury by children. HRW asked refiners to take immediate steps to eliminate gold from their supply chains. In September, HRW released a report on child labor in small-scale gold mining in the Philippines, exploring the dangerous work of underwater compressor divers. PBS NewsHour won an Emmy for its coverage of this most-dangerous form of child labor.
  5. In July, Tulane University researchers estimated that 2.12 million child laborers were still working in cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana during the 2014-2014 harvest. The study, commissioned by ILAB, found a 59 percent increase in the number of children in cocoa production since the last survey in 2008/2009–despite a decade-and-half-long multi-stakeholder initiative to reduce child labor in cocoa led by the West African countries and the major chocolate companies. Researchers found a 46 percent increase in hazardous work by children on the cocoa plantations.
  6. News out of Panama in 2015 showed an almost 50 percent reduction in child labor over two years. The census by the Panamanian government reported a drop from 50,410 children in child labor (about seven percent of childhood population) to 26,710. Advocates express hope that the country could be largely child labor-free in the next few years.
  7. In May, South Sudan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, followed by Somalia in October, leaving the United States as the only UN Nation not to ratify the international child rights treaty. HRW’s Jo Becker shares her views on what it means for the United States to be in a “Club of One.”
  8. In September, the Department of Labor’s ILAB launched the Sweat and Toil app, putting more than 1,000 pages of country-by-country research on child labor and forced labor in the palm of consumers’ hands. We’ve never had such easy access to supply chain info, nor been able to track individual countries’ progress in removing child labor and slavery. An android version of the app will be available shortly.
  9. Mega retailer Target announced a partnership with CLC member GoodWeave to sell child-labor-free certified rugs. We rarely see major corporations making that type of commitment to join the fight against child labor, and we applaud this partnership, which will help reduce the number of children who are chained to the loom.
  10. This year has seen progress in cleaning up South Asia’s notorious brick kilns. In February, officials helped free 333 bonded kiln workers, including 75 children, in Pudukuppam, India. Workers were paid $3 a week, if they were paid at all. There were a number of similar raids during the year. An ongoing program, “Better Brick Nepal,” conducted by CLC members Global Fairness Initiative and GoodWeave, is working to ensure that laborers who produce bricks are not exploited and that Nepal’s 60,000 child brick workers are protected.

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Child Mining: 10 Facts (click on title if a numbered list does not appear)

boy staning in mine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. It is estimated that around 1 million children work in mines throughout the world.
  2. Mining is considered a form of hazardous labor unfit for children under any circumstances, including poverty. Mining can lead to serious injuries; health consequences and an unknown number of children lose their lives while mining every year.
  3. Around the world, children, ages 5-17, work in mines for as little as $2 per day.Because of the relatively small number of child miners (one million), compared to child laborers in agriculture (over 100 million), child mining has not received the attention it deserves. Additionally, mining often takes place in temporary, remote, small-scale locations making it difficult to regulate and monitor.
  4. Because of the relatively small number of child miners (one million), compared to child laborers in agriculture (over 100 million), child mining has not received the attention it deserves. Additionally, mining often takes place in temporary, remote, small-scale locations making it difficult to regulate and monitor.
  5. Children can be found working in mines in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and in parts of Europe.
  6. Work for child miners includes digging shafts, crushing rocks, and carrying ore in gold mines and digging, scraping and lifting in salt mines and carrying and crushing large stones in quarries.
  7. Child miners face many potential health consequences due to the nature of their work including: over-exertion , respiratory ailments, headaches, joint problems, hearing and vision loss.
  8. In addition to the risks faced by all child miners, children miners in gold also face potential side effects from working with Mercury.
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