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04.06.2019 - News

What works for working children - TDH Report out !

More than 150 million children are categorised as ‘child labourers’ around the world, almost every second of them is subjected to ‘worst forms of child labour’ and more than four million are victims of forced labour. Faced with these overwhelming numbers, Terre des Hommes considers it as a priority to assist those who are worst off. But what works for working children?

Terre des Hommes has learned from experience: it is vital to listen to working children in order to understand child labour and to identify the most appropriate ways of improving their lives. Our newly published report highlights the benefits of involving working children and describes five methods to tackle child labour:

  1. The first method looks at how government policy can play a key role in bringing change by making primary education compulsory. The minimum age for adolescents to start work must be consistent with the minimum age when compulsory education ends and some children may leave school, rather than allowing loopholes which permit children to work instead of attending school.
  2. The second method focuses on how non-governmental organisations play a role in removing children from worst forms of child labour into much less harmful jobs and allow them to continue with part-time schooling.
  3. The third method concerns action by business to benefit children in worst forms of labour involved in producing commodities for export, e.g. mica mineral or producing spun cotton for the garment industry. Terre des Hommes and its partners have the power to influence the business world and can provide practical support to child workers and children at risk.
  4. The fourth section focuses on community level efforts to assist children employed as domestic staff, but also children victims of the worst forms of child labour. TDH has for example deployed an early warning system to identify children starting work in artisanal gold mines in Burkina Faso.
  5. The final part is about the prevention of child labour after humanitarian disasters as well as during and after armed conflict. This concerns especially Syrian child refugees in neighbouring countries.

In conclusion, TDH recommends that child labour programmes and advocacy should be evidence-based and their impact in the best interest of the child monitored. Education should be made compulsory up to a specified age. Influencing policies on child labour can be used as a powerful tool to support working children. Also, they should be given information about risks of workplace abuse and given alternative work opportunities if they are subject to hazardous work. We also call for action by businesses to stop worst forms of child labour in their supply chains.

Read the report.