THE world should not lose ground in the fight against child labour practices despite the rise in cases, a leading disc jockey has said
Speaking ahead of the World Day Against Child Labour, one of Zimbabwe’s talented disc jockeys, DJ Tryazz, real name Trymore Mudzipurwa said globally Covid-19 has brought with it a spate of disturbing reports of schoolchildren reverting to child labour, increases in child marriage, trafficking, domestic violence and a sharpening digital divide in education.
This comes as the United Nations yesterday said child labour had risen for the first time in 20 years, with one in 10 children engaged in some form of work worldwide and millions more at risk due to Covid-19.
“Children the world over are falling through the cracks, and we all should be alert to this and ensure that children rights are not violated,” he said.
According to ILO, child labour is often defined as “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and/or interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.”
The 2019 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Zimbabwe revealed that children in the country engage in the worst forms of child labour, including in commercial sexual exploitation, mining, and tobacco production, each sometimes as a result of human trafficking.
Children also engage in child labour in agriculture, including in the harvesting of sugar cane.
“When children are trapped in slavery, forced labour and trafficking; forced to participate in armed conflict; used for prostitution, pornography or in illicit activities; or in hazardous work, we must act urgently to protect their rights and restore their childhood,” Mudzipurwa said.
According to the ILO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the number of child labourers has increased to 160 million from 152 million in 2016, with the greatest rise in Africa due to population growth, crises and poverty.
“We are losing ground in the fight against child labour, and the last year has not made that fight any easier,” UNICEF’s executive director Henrietta Fore said in a statement, ahead of the World Day Against Child Labour on June 12.
“Now, well into a second year of global lockdowns, school closures, economic disruptions, and shrinking national budgets, families are forced to make heart-breaking choices,” added Fore.
Celebrated annually on June 12 since 2002, the World Day Against Child Labour is an International Labour Organization (ILO) -sanctioned day aimed at raising awareness about the ills of child labour.
The U.N. has made 2021 the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, saying urgent action is needed to meet a goal of ending the practice by 2025. But major gains made since 2000 – when 246 million children were in work – are being reversed and the number could climb back to 206 million by the end of 2022 if governments introduce austerity measures or fail to protect the vulnerable, it said.