Today (June 12th) is World Day Against Child Labor (WDACL). Around the world, labor rights advocates use this day as an opportunity to raise awareness about the worst forms of child labor and propose solutions to this ongoing problem. This year, WDACL is especially important because it marks the ten year anniversary of the adoption of ILO Convention #182 to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. It's also important to be talking about how to eliminate the most exploitative labor conditions today because of the global economic crisis. The International Trade Union Confederation put out a statement today explaining how the economic crisis is leading to an increase in child labor.
The theme for World Day Against Child Labor this year is "Give Girls a Chance" and focuses on girls involved in child labor. Check out a report from the ILO about girls and child labor. Check out this slideshow from the ILO about how young people are fighting child labor.
Keep reading for updates about ILRF's campaigns to stop child labor and ideas on how YOU can take action!
This week, ILRF Executive Director Bama Athreya is in Geneva at the International Labor Conference, the ILO's annual gathering. ILRF helped to organize an event yesterday about the continued use of forced child labor in Uzbekistan's cotton industry. The event featured speakers including Kailash Satyarthi of the Global March Against Child Labor as well as many other leading figures from human rights and labor organizations, government officials and companies. The agenda from the event is available online here.
The event in Geneva comes less than a week after ILRF released a new report detailing how forced child labor continues to be used in the most recent cotton harvest in Uzbekistan. Additionally, Uzbek human rights advocates just released a new call for an international boycott of Uzbek cotton.
In recent months, Cadbury and Mars have committed to certification programs aimed at improving sustainability in cocoa production. These announcements are a step forward, but more work is needed to stop the use of child labor in the production of cocoa, especially in Cote d'Ivoire. You can click here to check out ILRF's report from last July explaining the lack of progress made by many chocolate companies in addressing labor problems over the past years.
In the coming weeks, ILRF will be launching new campaign efforts targeting a major chocolate company, so please stay tuned for updates!
As part of the ongoing Stop Firestone campaign, ILRF is working with US and Liberia-based organizations to fight the use of child labor and abuse of workers' rights on a rubber plantation in Liberia operated by the Firestone tire company. While Firestone workers achieved a historic victory when they signed their first contract negotiated by an independent and democratically elected union leadership last summer, Firestone has not fully implemented many of the crucial improvements in that contract. As a result, child labor and many other abuses continue. Check out this article describing the ongoing problems and click here to read recent articles about the serious environmental problems caused by Firestone.
Later this summer, the union will begin negotiations on a new contract, so please stay alert for upcoming actions to show solidarity with Firestone workers and their families in the coming months.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
* SEND AN E-MAIL TO HERSHEY, MARS & NESTLE: Send an e-mail to Hershey, Mars & Nestle telling them to stop using child labor in their cocoa supply chains.
* ORDER OUR CHILD LABOR POSTERS: Click here to see our child labor campaign posters and to find out how to order some.
* USE OUR CHILD LABOR CLASSROOM RESOURCES: Help spread the word in your community be using our educational resources here. The ILO and Education International have additional classroom materials specifically for World Day Against Child Labor 2009 available here.
* JOIN OUR URGENT ACTION LIST: The best way to get the latest information about child labor and new ways to take action is to sign up for our urgent action list. As we launch new campaign efforts in the coming months, we need more voices calling for change. SIGN UP HERE!