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Superheroes against Child Labour

June 5th, 2020

June, 12 is the World's Day against Child Labour. Despite the challenges, Terre des Hommes is winning the battle against this form of Child Exploitation but before us, a group of Superheroes from all over the world started this battle. We highlight some of these gamechangers to celebrate our fight.

World Day Against Child Labour: The superheroes who stand for children's rights

Samuel van Houten

Samuel van Houten presented the Children Wetje in 1874, the first law to ban Child Labour.

Despite Van Houten advocated a general ban on work by children who were too young, the House of Representatives applied the law only in factories and workshops and was "not applicable to domestic and personal services and to field work".

  • According to the International Labour Organization, 152 million children worldwide work, half of them in slavery, bonded labour, prostitution dangerous or illegal work.
  • 263 million girls and boys of school age worldwide were unable to attend school.

Peace Mutuuzo

Peace Mutuuzo is the Minister of State for Gender and Culture in the Ugandan Cabinet. 

She's a strong advocate for Child Rights and an activist against Child Labour. In her words, "Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams,”

The United Nations estimates that another 66 million children are at risk of extreme
poverty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Children whose parents work in the informal
sector - as street vendors, housemaids, garbage collectors, construction or farm workers -
are particularly affected during the global lockdowns.

Iqbal Masih

Iqbal was sold to a carpet store for twelve dollars when he was 4 years old. He escaped and became an activist against Child Labour. 

His speeches raised a lot of interest to the labour conditions of exploited children making him a hero at the age of twelve. 

Terre des Hommes warns that the economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic will
force several million children worldwide into exploitative working conditions: Children who are already disadvantaged: poor and neglected children, street children, girls, refugee children and children of migrants, children in crisis regions and children growing up without parents

Kailash Satyarthi

Kailash Satyarthi saved 80,000 children in India from slavery reintegrating them into society. 

In 1998, he organised the global march against child labour: more than 7.2 million people in 103 countries took part in what was the largest campaign on the issue. He wan the 2014 Nobel peace prize.

Terre des Hommes is observing a clearly visible increase in child labour in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America: in large cities there are obviously more children who beg. On plantations and farms, school children work with their parents. Children sell vegetables or fruit in the streets.

Jacob Jan Cremer

The writer Jacob Jan Cremer , who had visited a textile factory in Leiden in 1863 , strongly argued against child labor.

He described the harrowing working conditions he identified in a novel Factory Children. "A petition, but not for money" . He closed it with an appeal to King William III to intervene.

According to UNESCO, 1.5 billion students in 186 countries were unable to attend school
during the marriage of the global lockdowns in May. The school closures acutely contribute
to malnutrition and hunger, because the elimination of school meals means that many children lose the most important, often only meal a day: according to the World Food
Programme, at least 365 million children are currently affected.

Angela Benedicto

Angela Benedicto is a strong advocate for Child Domestic Workers in Tanzania. She works to rise the rights of Child Domestic Workers and victims of Child Trafficking.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, It is to be feared that in poorer countries many girls and boys will completely lose their connection to education and will not even return to school at all, as they have to contribute to the family income or the families can no longer afford to attend school.

Siddharth Kara

Siddharth Kara is an author, activist and expert on modern day slavery and human trafficking. He has been exposing modern-day slavery around the world and highlight the efforts being made to eradicate it.

Terre des Hommes demands that national governments and the international community
give priority to the needs of poor and disadvantaged children in their COVID-19 aid

  • Food aid or direct aid
  • Prevent children from dropping out of school.
  • Control the formal and informal sectors and end child labour.

Shantha Sinha

Shantha Sinha has been an anti-child labour activist for the past 35 years, and was among the earliest voices in the country fighting for the rights of children to attain a formal education. Her efforts have resulted in policy change and more than 1,000 villages across India are child-labour free today.

In order to counter the acute education crisis and prevent millions of girls and boys from dropping out of school, the promotion of education, and especially basic education for all children, must be a central aspect of both the immediate COVID-19 measures and long-term development cooperation.

Isaac Maigua

Mwaura Isaac Maigua is a Kenyan politician, a disability advocate and currently a Nominated Senator in the Kenya's Senate, representing Persons with Disabilities. He's an advocate of Children in the Parliament and strong activist against Child Labour.

On the occasion of the World Day against Child Labour, Terre des Hommes warns of a
dramatic increase in child labour as a result of the Corona pandemic. For millions of
children, the COVID-19 crisis has the face of hunger, exploitation and the end of all hopes for educational opportunities.

Julia Lathrop

Julia Clifford was an American social reformer in the area of education, social policy, and children's welfare. She played an instrumental role in the advocacy of child labor laws and child welfare in the US in the XIX Century.

There is still no global overview of the number of children who have to work during and
after the COVID-19 lockdowns. Would you help us stopping Child Labour?

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