World Day Against Child Labor

Today is World Day Against Child Labor. Care estimates approximately 218 million children worldwide are involved in child labor. This year’s focus is on child labor in agriculture, which is the sector in which the majority of child workers are to be found; almost 70%.

Particularly egregious is the cocoa industry. In the Ivory Coast, labor rights advocates estimate that around 10 000 children are enslaved to work in cocoa plantations. The major cocoa corporations drafted a voluntary Cocoa Industry Protocol aiming to eliminate child labor in the industry by 2005 — the deadline has passed, and still children are working in cocoa fields.

In the garment industry, there’s recently been a focus on child labor in China in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  PlayFair 2008 released a report entitled “No medal for the Olympics on labor rights” — as of writing, I can’t find the report on the net, but it’s been widely reported on by various news outlets. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that four companies with contracts to produce licensed memorabilia for the games — including hats, bags, and stationery — have been found to be violating minimum wage laws and employing children. The contracts have since been cancelled.

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