This essay will look at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and its attempts to alleviate child labour up until now. Firstly, a definition of child labour will be provided after which an introductory overview will be given about the ILO’s activities against child labour. Thereafter, a critical assessment will be provided regarding the ILO’s steps against child labour, and some major problems will be highlighted regarding the ILO’s approach to eliminate child labour.
Defining Child Labour
Mowing the lawn, washing the car and dishes, or cleaning the kitchen are the types of tasks that most children dislike to do. However, tasks such as these are not defined as child labour. Generally speaking, child labour is defined as something along the lines of: ‘Labour that exploits children and restricts their mental and physical development’, and thus household chores, in most cases, cannot be considered to be a form of child labour.
However, labour that is not appropriate for children, such as working with dangerous machinery, mining, or work that exposes children to sexual abuse, can be defined as child labour. This is due to the fact that, in situations like the ones described, children are exposed to exploitation and to circumstances that are detrimental to their physical and mental health.
That being said, labour in itself is not considered to be necessarily a bad thing for children, since it can provide them with many learning opportunities. For example, through working, children can develop self-discipline, a feeling of responsibility, and solidarity. The important factor however is that the work should not exploit the child or be physically exhausting, and children should be given enough time to go to school and enjoy themselves by having free time to play.
General overview of the ILO and its actions against Child Labour
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) was set up in 1919, and became a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) after WWII; it is devoted to promoting social justice and preserving internationally recognized human and labour rights (ILO, 2013). The ILO believes that true prosperity will not be attainable without labour peace, and therefore the organisation battles for workers' social justice rights all over the globe.
The ILO is very active in the battle against child labour. It tries to combat child labour through raising global awareness of the issue, and it also develops various conventions to protect children against exploitation, and encourages nations to adopt and implement these conventions.
ILO Red Card Campaign
One example of the ILO’s campaigns against child labour is the ‘’Red Card Campaign’’, launched in 2002 in support of the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC). The campaign is still running and its goals are to: 1) raise awareness about the need to fight child labour through direct contact with the general public and the media, and 2) to eliminate the...