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CyberDodo fights against child labour (2-25)

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Are the conditions the same for all child labourers around the world ?

International organisations agree that there are over 200 million children engaged in various forms of labour, but behind this number exist very different realities for each child labourer, depending on the specific workplace and activity involved, as well as age and social status of the child labourer.

However, one common denominator can be found amongst all forms of exploitation : poverty. When it is a question of sheer survival, of having enough to eat, the contribution of a child can prove determinant for an entire family. The eradication of poverty is thus a necessary precondition for any and all long-term solutions to child labour.

As such, it is a good idea to be wary of certain « initiatives » which, purporting to protect the youngest victims of labour-based exploitation, effectively result in worsening their situation. A notable example was the dismissal of 50,000 child labourers from textile factories in Bangladesh at the beginning of the 1990's, in the face of fear of a boycott in the United States. These children, principally girls, obligated to find work, found themselves engaged in even more dangerous work. It is thus critical to be knowledgeable of and understand local conditions in order to achieve those successes which these children so urgently need.

Child labour, millions of unique cases

Is there an acceptable form of child labour ?

In certain situations, the answer is yes, but if and only if :

- The child receives regular and fulfilling schooling
- The work does not represent a danger to the child's health, development and his or her well-being
- The work does not prevent the child from adequate rest or leisure activity
- The work is integral to an educational program and/or part of a local tradition

The above answer may seem shocking for some of us in western countries, but it is nonetheless fundamental to know that a reasonable economic contribution on the part of children respecting the above criteria- is indispensable to the survival of millions of families living in poor countries.

What are inacceptable forms of child labour ?

In short, one can say that they are all forms of labour in which the specific needs of children are ignored. A child is not a miniature adult, he or she is an adult of tomorrow.

Such forms of exploitation are based on the increased profit which « the employer » is able to gain by using a child instead of an adult, including :

- Much lower salaries, if existent at all
- Complete absence of health and social protections
- Reduced personal needs (food, etc)

But, even worse exists

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