‘Inclusion, for every child’ requires strong steps by Commonwealth leaders to end child labour and trafficking: CHRI

‘Inclusion, for every child’ requires strong steps by Commonwealth leaders to end child labour and trafficking: CHRI

London, November 20, 2022: On World Children’s Day 2022, the Commonwealth Human RIghts Initiative urges Commonwealth nations to take strong steps to end child labour and trafficking, in order to pave the way for “inclusion, for every child”.

Despite decades of international efforts, it is worrying that millions of children around the world continue to be victimised by child labour, trafficking and other forms of exploitation, including sex-trafficking, and child marriage.

According to a 2021 report by the ILO and the UNICEF, the number of children in child labour stood at 160 million globally, of which 79 million were engaged in hazardous forms of labour. The COVID-19 pandemic, the report warned, put another 9 million children at the risk of falling victim to child labour.

Child marriage is another major impediment in ensuring inclusion for every child. UNICEF data reveals that over 650 million girls alive today worldwide are victims of child marriage, and an additional 110 million girls are at risk to be married before the legal age, unless efforts to address the problem are accelerated.

Every year, at least 12 million girls are married before they reach the age of 18. That’s 28 girls every minute!

November 20 is an important marker in the evolution of child rights, as this was the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and in 1989 when the UNGA adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been ratified by 196 states to date.

The theme for this year’s World Children’s Day is ‘Inclusion, for every child’. However, for children forced into child labour and trafficking, inclusion remains a distant dream.

Child labour and trafficking continues to be one of the biggest impediments to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG Target 16.2, which seeks to ‘end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children’ by 2030. 

Realising this, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), held in June 2022 in Rwanda, member nations resolved to secure the prohibition and elimination of all forms of child labour, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers, by 2025.

To ensure no child is left behind, states must address the specific vulnerabilities of children at risk of exploitation. They must also establish mechanisms for the prompt and adequate identification and protection of children that are victims of this crime.

“Commonwealth states must strengthen their efforts towards eradicating child exploitation and child labour. Contemporary forms of slavery affects people from all age groups, and children are one of the most vulnerable.” Sneh Aurora, Director, CHRI UK, said. “Cooperation amongst states is critical, as well as with other actors, including corporations and civil society organisations: working together is the only way to eradicate child labour.”

CHRI works to raise awareness, build capacity and support networks to help eradicate child labour, forced marriage, trafficking and other forms of child exploitation.

CHRI’s soon to be launched report, ‘Children, Not Workers’ explores interventions against child labour in three Commonwealth countries - Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, and Sri Lanka - against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For further information, contact:

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)

Media and Communications Office, London

Email: london@humanrightsinitiative.org

Website: https://humanrightsinitiative.org

Twitter: @CHRI_UK