|picture taken from jhr.ca|
The ILO declared June 12 the World Day Against Child Labour.
Personally, I am not an advocate for any form of abuse, but I have never been certain about drawing the line on whether child labour is harmful or not. There are of course the obvious examples: very young children having to do heavy tasks or working in unhealthy circumstances, or even horrific ones (prostitution). But during my days in Ghana, I got confronted with so many girls and boys that were looking after a shop or selling cold water in the streets. This is of course far from ideal, but I wasn't horrified by it, definitely if the child was still able to go to school.
Today, Noah Wernikowski wrote an interesting article on child labour in Ghana for the Canadian blogsite "Journalists for Human Rights". One of the key sentences in the article is not all this “child work” is considered child labour – labour performed by a child that directly impedes the child’s education and full development, jeopardizing his or her physical, mental, or moral well-being, with which I can fully relate.
Stephen McClelland, the Chief Technical Advisor for the Ghana Project of the International Labour Organization, also gave me extra insights: "if you ignore the development of your children, then you are condemning your country to difficult development challenges ahead”.
“Undoubtedly child labour is caused by poverty, and some of the best of ways of overcoming poverty is to have a good, comprehensive, social protective system,” he said.