Author: Rachel Hoy
If you asked a stranger on the street how they felt about child labour, it’s safe to say most people would not offer support for it. Yet evidence about the widespread damaging effects of child labour is overwhelming and we need to do more than hold a moral card against it, especially when we often support the demand for child labour unknowingly through our purchases.
There are 168 million child labourers around the world today. Around half are estimated to be in a hazardous form of labour.
Over 10% of the world’s children over 5 years old are child labourers. That means that one child in every ten is currently working under conditions detrimental to their physical and mental health.
This is the same percentage of people who travel to work via public transport in Australia.
More than 2 out of 5 child labourers are aged between 5 and 11 years old. That means nearly half of child labourers are younger than Australian high school age.
This is more than the percentage of people in Australia who own one car.
More than 1 in 5 children in Sub-Saharan Africa are engaged in some form of child labour. That means in a group of five friends, one is unable to attend school due to being forced into child labour.
This is around the same percentage of people in Melbourne who live in a two-bedroom household.
These are just some of the facts surrounding the pervasiveness of child labour. Child labour is declining due to collective efforts but it is clear there is a long way to go. While these statistics are alarming, behind each statistic lies a personal story – both heartbreaking and mostly preventable.
A good start to preventing demand for child labour is to know the standards of the product that you buy. Try downloading the shopethical! app for your next trip to the supermarket or asking your local café about their coffee and tea suppliers.
World Vision Australia 2014 <http://www.worldvision.com.au/Libraries/Child_Labour_Myths_report/Child_Labour_Myths_Media_Report_12Jun14.pdf>
Information about the Author: Rachel Hoy is a VGen Youth Campaigner for World Vision Australia who works on the #FreeTo campaign. She just completed a Master of development studies at the University of Sydney.