100 Million, which runs the youth-led strand of the Fair Share to End Child Labour campaign, launched its new report demanding an end to the discrimination which perpetuates child labour on 12 June. On the World Day Against Child Labour, in the UN Year to Eliminate Child Labour, youth activists are angry: the latest ILO data shows that, even before the pandemic, child labour had already risen from 152 million in 2016 to 160 million in 2020. In the last eight years, child labour has fallen in South-East Asia and Latin America, but sub-Saharan Africa has seen an increase: of the 160 million child labourers worldwide, 92 million of them now live in sub-Saharan Africa – more than in the rest of the world combined. Worse still is that it is amongst the youngest children that progress has already reversed: even before the pandemic there were 16.8 million more 5-11 year-olds in child labour than in 2016, the first year of the SDGs. While tiny hands were growing our food and making our clothes, the wealth of the world increased by 15% and the wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by 23%. How rich does the world need to be before governments end the scandal of child labour?
100 Million has published the End Discrimination, End Child Labour report, which calls out governments for multiple discriminations which have pushed more families into the kind of extreme poverty that forces children out of education and into child labour. Youth leaders and activists are demanding an end to the historic discrimination which has perpetuated child exploitation and are calling for a more inclusive and sustainable world after the devastation wreaked by COVID-19 on the most marginalised children and young people.
The world has an opportunity to reinvigorate the fight against all forms of child labour and push for the breakthrough that is needed to achieve the 2025 SDG 8.7 deadline to end child labour. The discrimination which causes child labour must be eliminated to make the goal of achieving the rest of the SDGs possible, for the world’s most marginalised children and young people to finally be free, safe, and educated.
TO ALL GOVERNMENTS
1: NATIONAL ACTION PLANS TO END CHILD LABOUR
Create national action plans to end child labour by 2025 which recognise and directly target historic and ongoing discriminations against low-income countries, ethnic and religious minorities, rural communities, and communities in urban informal settlements including refugee and IDP camps. This includes:
Urgently implementing social protection floors to support the most marginalised. This should take an holistic approach; prioritising one group over another will result in children always coming last. This means, as a minimum, creating well-resourced social protection schemes for families which are available, accessible, and adequate to the needs of those meeting a realistic eligibility threshold; and ideally creating a universal child income which is accessible to all families with children.
Public policy and services which put marginalised communities first, including the establishment of new infrastructure, with staff trained to deliver the rights of children – from trained teachers and clinicians to child protection and police officers. Incentivisation should be included to ensure equitable staffing between rural and urban settings.
Strengthening new laws and implementing existing laws against child labour, including laws which reach beyond national borders and ban child labour in global supply chains, and well-funded enforcement agencies with sufficient capacity to monitor rural settings.
Recognition of children undertaking household chores of 21 hours or more per week as child labourers in national data and advocating for inclusion in international data.
For refugee communities in particular, allowing adults to earn, and sufficiently funding education in emergency contexts through national and multilateral financing to prevent child trafficking and exploitation.
2: INCLUSIVE TASK FORCES TO DELIVER NATIONAL ACTION PLANS
Deliver national action plans to end child labour through inclusive, multi-stakeholder task forces at national and local level which ensure that marginalised communities are represented and include meaningful participation of children. This includes:
Transparency and accessibility with targeted outreach and communication to enable marginalised communities to participate in decision-making and accountability, including mechanisms to track progress and identify barriers to implementation nationally and locally.
Improved and disaggregated data to end discrimination and ensure children are not falling through the gaps.
3: TRANSPARENT, ANTI-DISCRIMINATORY NATIONAL BUDGETS
Deliver transparent, anti-discriminatory national budgets, developed using human rights and children’s rights lenses. This includes:
Budgeting to ensure equitable provision of public services which even up quality and access for those who are most marginalised and excluded, taking into specific account the impact on children.
Meeting international and regional obligations and standards to fund public services, including 1% of GDP to child-focused social protection, 20% of the domestic budget to education, and 15% of domestic budget to health in developing countries; and for all countries fully funding the gap to achieve universal primary healthcare and basic WASH.
Participation and accountability in budget processes to include marginalised communities and children.
TO DONOR COUNTRIES AND MULTILATERAL INSTITUTIONS
4: ANTI-DISCRIMINATORY GLOBAL TAXATION RULES AND INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION TO ELIMINATE ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS
Enable new ways of working for all countries to have a fair say in global taxation laws to ensure that lower-income countries benefit as well as wealthier countries and increase intergovernmental cooperation and support to eliminate harmful illicit financial flows. This includes:
Preventing the avoidance of global corporation tax with a dual approach combining profit thresholds and levels of revenue.
Eliminating tax havens and increasing intergovernmental monitoring on corruption and money-laundering.
5: INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION WHICH ACKNOWLEDGES AND FIGHTS AGAINST DISCRIMINATION
Official development assistance in the form of bilateral and multilateral grants should be increased to sufficiently support governments to end child labour through tackling its root causes, including debt cancellation and the establishment of a $100 billion global social protection fund targeted towards lower-income countries. This includes:
Increasing bilateral grants and targeting them towards low-income countries, and in particular where high proportions of citizens live in poverty, instead of repurposing aid to meet foreign policy objectives in middle-income countries.
Fully financing multilateral funds and appeals which specifically target low-income countries and marginalised populations, including the Global Partnership for Education, Education Cannot Wait, and humanitarian response appeals led by the United Nations.
Improving representation and power for lower-income countries by making structural changes to high-level decision-making bodies and quotas to enable stronger capacity to implement poverty reduction measures.
Additional increased financial support as acknowledgement of historical and structural discrimination by relevant donor countries.