Behind closed doors: The forgotten world of Domestic Child Labourers
World Day Against Child Labour on June 12, 2004: Global March Against Child Labour makes the world look at one of the most elusive forms of child labour
New Delhi, June 11, 2004 – On Saturday, June 12, the World Day Against Child Labour will be celebrated for the third time. Global March Against Child Labour, along with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and social partners from around the world, will focus on the overlooked plight of domestic child labour, by holding simultaneous mass actions worldwide.
On June 12, 2004, partners of Global March Against Child Labour, the largest worldwide civil society initiative against economic exploitation of children, will be taking the case against domestic child labour to communities, governments, and the streets. They will also release the Children’s Declaration, an outcome document of the recently concluded First Children’s World Congress on Child Labour in Florence, Italy. Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson of Global March, says: “Child Domestic Workers toil at the cost of their childhood and all their rights. This World Day Against Child Labour is the opportunity to once more raise awareness of the unacceptable conditions these children are living in.”
Global March Against Child Labour requests governments to put a legal ban on employing children below the legal minimum age of employment in domestic work and to provide legal protection for domestic work in general. International and national institutions are asked to integrate the issue of child domestic labour in action plans for Education for all and to incorporate the root causes that push children into domestic work in poverty reduction strategies.
Behind Closed Doors
Domestic child labour is one of the most elusive forms of child labour to tackle. Children working behind the closed doors of private homes are invisible and alone, difficult to reach and to count. A majority of child domestic workers live in the exclusive around-the-clock control of their employers. In most countries domestic work is not considered as work; therefore is not protected by laws and does not show up in employment statistics. According to ILO estimations a high percentage of the 250 million child labourers in the developing world are considered to be domestic workers. Around 90% of all child domestic workers are girls.
The ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour declares child domestic labour to be one of the worst forms of child labour. Often children are sold, contracted or trafficked as domestic servants where they may repay their families’ debt. Hidden from the public eye and separated from their families and peers many child domestic workers are victims of physical, psychological and sexual abuse.
Actions Around the World – Activities of Global March Partners
In the Philippines , the Visayan Forum Foundation , regional coordinator of Global March in South East Asia, will stage a candle light vigil across Philippine cities with 1,000 child domestic workers and social partners to call the public attention to the plight of “modern-day slaves”. In Peru , the Centro De Estudios Sociales Y Publicaciones/CESIP (Centre of Social Studies and Publications), as part of a committee consisting of representatives of the ILO, the government and other social organisations will hold an anti-child labour event in the ILO office in Lima. One highlight is a film presentation telling the story of a domestic child labourer. In Togo , on June 14, WAO Afrique, regional Global March coordinator in francophone Africa will mobilise people throughout communities to raise awareness on commercial sexual exploitation of children in the country. On June 17, over 200 former child labourers and school-going children will meet with Ministers of Education, Labour, Social Welfare and Tourism for an accountability session. Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN), Global March regional coordinator in South Asia, will hand the Children’s Declaration of the Children’s World Congress on Child Labour to the State Head. In the Dominican Republic , the Committee for the Global March Against Child Labour will have a march in Santo Domingo with 5000 children, 30% of them former child labourers, demanding a world free of child labour.
For more information on the Inernational Child Labour Day visit http://www.ilo.org/childlabour