Factory Kids: It's Black and White But It's Not History
by The Charter
11 months ago
It's 10 pm somewhere -- do you know where the children are?
According to the International Labour Organization, 215 million of them are working. The research group Maplecroft reports that conflict and economic downturn have caused an increase last in in reported child labor violations. Now, they say, fully 40% of all counties are rated at 'extreme risk' for violations including child slavery and involvement in armed conflict. But it is not just in the usual suspects of Third World countries that violations are happening, "The UK, for instance, is classified as medium risk in the index, a situation confirmed by Sedex data from independent audits, which shows the rate of child labour incidences in the UK to be only 2% lower than Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam."
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Although there may not be a child working in a factory or field near you, you're part of the supply chain. It's a tricky position Carmel Giblin points out in The Guardian's "Sustainable Business" blog in a call for greater oversight and transparancy. Where does your responsibility end for what your eat, wear and plug into your headphones?
So, June 12 is the International Day Against Child Labour -- another important day in a calendar packed with issues so dire that they might seem overwhelming. But you don't have to let it stop there. Get educated about the issue. If you're a teacher take advantage of the great curriculum provided by the Education International and if you're a parent let your kids know where some other kids are tonight.
Above: That was then. One of Lewis W. Hine's photos of mill workers in the early 20th century. Hine's photos of working people and especially children were instrumental in supporting the movement advocating for the United States' first labor laws.
Left Image from ABC New's slideshow on child labor in 2012. A boy works at a coal depot, April 16, 2011 near to Lad Rymbai, in the district of Jaintia Hills, India. Local schools in the area, providing free tuition, find it difficult to convince parents of the benefits of education, as children are seen as sources of income. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)