Child labour 2021 and UK aid cuts | World Vision UK (2023)

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Child labour 2021 and UK aid cuts | World Vision UK (3)

11 June, 2021 By Christine Barrett

Partnership, threatened by UK aid cuts, tackles the worst forms of child labour.

Child labour 2021 and UK aid cuts | World Vision UK (4)

World Vision-led programme tackles the worst forms of child labour

I work on a project designed to reduce the worst forms of child labour in three of the most difficult places in the world for children.

PACE – Partnership Against Child Exploitation – is a ground-breaking partnership between World Vision UK and others, including media and legal experts. PACE is also working to:

  • bolster research on what works to reduce the worst forms of child labour
  • help reintegrate children in the community who have been forced to work in armed groups, mines and work where they have been sexually exploited
  • empower children to resist work that is damaging to their wellbeing. Helping them to find alternatives such as returning to school and vocational training
  • help private sector organisations to achieve best practice in supply chain due diligence
  • strengthen legal and reporting systems, so that abuses are reported, referrals made and justice achieved
  • increase media focus on this underreported area.

Work or Labour?

In my role as a PACE programme officer, I come across challenges every single day. Challenges like:

  • COVID-19 disrupting our work
  • new staff who need help getting up to speed
  • and the inevitable frustrations with internet connectivity issues!

These concerns are common for many others in their working day, but let’s get some perspective and ask ourselves:

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  1. Is my work harmful to my physical health?
  2. Is my work detrimental to my mental wellbeing?
  3. Is my work detrimental to my development?

Data released this week by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF shockingly shows us that gains made to reduce child labour have stalled for the first time in 20 years.

Estimates are that 160 million children are involved in child labour.

Even more alarming are the figures showing an increase of 6.5 million, to 79 million children involved in the worst forms of child labour. That’s work which is the most harmful to children physically, harmful to children’s mental health and harmful to their development.

Children like Merem and Yibeltal.

Child labour 2021 and UK aid cuts | World Vision UK (5)

Child labour 2021 and UK aid cuts | World Vision UK (6)I was not able to attend school properly. Regrettably, I failed to pass to grade 10. I then quit school and engaged myself in full time daily labour.

Merem's story

Merem is 16 years old. Her father is partially blind and paralysed, and her mother is a housewife with no means of income.

Merem earns about £9 a month collecting harmful leaves of ‘Khat’ plants, which the WHO classify as a ‘drug of abuse’ since they contain two stimulant drugs. She did this for six years to provide herself with school materials and supplement her family with food. Despite her commitment to continue school, the workload affected her school performance and stole her dream of completing her education. She says:

“The khat collecting business was tedious and challenging by nature. You have to collect the leaves of the plant in the stone-baking sun, walking from one plant to the other, for half the day. It makes you tired at the end of the day.

"Due to this, I was not able to attend school properly, study and do homework. Regrettably, I failed to pass to grade 10. I then quit school and engaged myself in full-time daily labour.”

Child labour 2021 and UK aid cuts | World Vision UK (7)

Yibeltal's story

Yibeltal’s father is a subsistence farmer. His annual income is not enough to feed his family and send his children to school. He says:

“My yearly income is too meagre, let alone [enough] to provide writing materials and clothes for my children and send them to school. It could not sufficiently feed my family for more than half a year. I do daily labour and make charcoal ceaselessly to supplement my family.

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Despite my struggle, my children are frequently exposed to food insecurity. Hence, instead of exposing my children to hunger, I preferred to rent out two of my children as cattle keepers.”

Yibeltal is 15 and has worked as a herder for the last three years. He dropped out of school at grade 3, but he would like to be a doctor.

His father rented him out as cattle herder in 2018 with £100 annual salary. “When I heard the rumour [I would be rented out] as a herder, I appealed to my father, crying, not to do so. However, he turned his back to my pleading. I refused to eat food all day long with a belief that my father will change his mind. Nothing has changed and I was rented out as cattle keeper,” he sadly recalls.

These are just two of 160 million children’s stories of child labour – it’s heartbreaking.

See what becomes of Yibeltal and Merem later in this blog.

Child labour 2021 and UK aid cuts | World Vision UK (8)

Effects of the pandemic

This data was collected before knowing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on poor families - so this figure will most likely increase as the true effects become known. In order to survive, many of those living in the poorest nations have no other option than to have their children work in hazardous, harmful, and exploitative activities. Activities like small-scale mining, forced recruitment into armed groups, and even sexual exploitation.

This labour is a double-edged sword as it also often denies children their education, play and rest time – what we in the UK may consider normal childhood rights.

On top of this, the recent cuts in UK government aid spending, have slashed PACE’s funding by 50%.

Due to these cuts the project is being closed in the Central African Republic, where World Vision has worked, with partners, for two and a half years – 18 months before its planned end date. This is despite the high levels of fragility, poverty and vulnerability which most communities live in.

Child labour 2021 and UK aid cuts | World Vision UK (9)

And now, the good news

Where we can continue, PACE is working to offer families other choices.

Choices like returning to school to continue their education, by providing the materials they need but can't afford. By identifying and training children in vocational skills, which allows them to make their own living in safe and dignified work.

This year is a special year for the world as we work together against child labour.

Pledges have been made by workers associations, business networks, individuals and civil society organisations from all over the world to support the UN’s International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.

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This all supports the global Sustainable Development Goal 8.7, ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’.

How can we end child labour?

If, like I did, you’re thinking that those who are making children work in hazardous, illegal, illicit and otherwise damaging work must simply be stopped, well the reality is more subtle, as I have learnt since working on the Partnership Against Child Exploitation programme.

  1. Children and their families and communities are not always aware of children’s rights under local, national and international laws.
  2. Children and their families may have no other options to survive than for children to earn some income. They live in extreme poverty, with no alternatives such as schools and vocational training opportunities.
  3. Legal systems, which should protect children and tackle perpetrators, are too weak to maintain the law. This is coupled with underreporting in the media so individuals and communities are not aware of the facts.
  4. Private sector organisations find it difficult to truly know what is happening in their supply chains and/or are unable to make changes to reduce the prevalence of child labour.

Reducing child labour is not about stopping children from increasing their skills and confidence.

It’s not about stopping children from learning to enter the world of adults.

It’s not about stopping children from earning money for themselves and their families.

PACE is working to prevent harm to the child’s physical health, mental wellbeing and development, which child labour causes.

The PACE Consortium has been working on all these themes in three of the most difficult places in the world for a child to grow up - Ethiopia, Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo. We’re collecting robust data in these areas, which has few research studies, so we can help effectively reduce the worst forms of child labour.

Child labour 2021 and UK aid cuts | World Vision UK (10)

What happened to Merem?

"Ignited... hope in my little heart"

Merem’s family has received some capital which they can use to start making a sustainable income.

Merem is now registered at school and will return soon.

“I lack words to explain how much I was delighted on hearing the good news of [being able to go] back to school. I told my friends and relatives this news and they all congratulated me. The news has ignited a sense of hope in my little heart. It seems that I am going to enjoy a bright future now. Thank you World Vision for this great job,” she happily explains.

Child labour 2021 and UK aid cuts | World Vision UK (11)

What happened to Yibeltal?

"I will realise my dream"

Yibeltal has received school materials and is eagerly waiting for the opening of the school.

“I am thrilled to hear World Vision’s plan to help children in the worst of child labour like me. I am also pleased to hear that I will be back to school through World Vision support. I will study hard and become someone who can be useful for my country and realise my dream of being a medical doctor.”

(Video) UK AID CUTS: Over £4Bn, Grassroots impact

Yibeltal’s father is also pleased to see his child and himself able to take part in the programme. He says, “I am delighted to see my child back to school. I will try to work hard with the startup capital I will be given and feed my children properly and send them to school.”

Hearing these stories helps me to cast off the everyday challenges of my job and redouble my efforts to work on this exciting PACE project which is helping many children like Merem and Yibeltal. It is truly a labour of love for me.

Let this year – 2021 – be the year the world is behind children like Merem and Yibeltal; let’s work together to eliminate harmful child labour once and for all.

*This is the position of World Vision UK – and does not necessarily represent the thoughts of all PACE consortium members

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What is World Vision doing to end child labor? ›

What is World Vision doing to end child labor? World Vision places children at the center of all our work to transform communities for good. We empower children to know their rights and work toward their own well-being.

Which country has highest child Labour? ›

Substantial variation in child labour estimates exists across the South Asian countries. In absolute terms, child labour for the 5-17 years age range is highest in India (5.8 million), followed by Bangladesh (5.0 million), Pakistan (3.4 million) and Nepal (2.0 million).

Who ended child labor? ›

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal sought to prevent extreme child labor, and almost all of the codes under the National Industrial Recovery Act significantly reduced child labor. The Public Contracts Act of 1936 required boys to be 16 and girls to be 18 to work in firms supplying goods under federal contract.

What are the solutions to child labor? ›

Here are a few tips for helping end child labor:
  • Educate yourself. ...
  • Contact retail stores, manufacturers, and importers. ...
  • Buy fair trade and sweatshop-free products whenever possible. ...
  • Grow more of your own food. ...
  • Share your time and money. ...
  • Contact local, regional, and national legislators.
Jun 1, 2017

What is the controversy of World Vision? ›

Indian controversy

In 2004, the political weekly Tehelka newspaper in India criticised World Vision India for its involvement with AD2000. Commentator Valerie Tarico suggested World Vision and other christian aid organizations use the word "witness" as a code word for seeking converts in places such as India.

How much of World Vision goes to children? ›

Did you know that for each dollar donated to World Vision, more than a dollar's worth of help gets to kids and families? We're always working to keep our overhead low. In 2022, we used 89% of our total operating expenses for programs that benefit children, families, and communities.

Is there still child labor in the US? ›

Dreier estimates that some 250,000 children have crossed into the U.S. without their parents in the last two years, and that the majority of them wind up working full-time jobs. "These are jobs working for household brands like Cheerios, Cheetos, Ford," she says.

When was child labour abolished UK? ›

The campaign against child labour culminated in two important pieces of legislation – the Factory Act (1833) and the Mines Act (1842). The Factory Act prohibited the employment of children younger than nine years of age and limited the hours that children between nine and 13 could work.

Which country has the lowest child labour age? ›

That such a young boy is toiling at a job is neither remarkable nor illegal in this South American country. Bolivia has the world's lowest minimum age for child labor: 10. At that young age, children can work legally for themselves or their families. Once they hit age 12, they can work for others.

Why did the US ban child labor? ›

The federal child labor provisions, authorized by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), also known as the child labor laws, were enacted to ensure that when young people work, the work is safe and does not jeopardize their health, well-being or educational opportunities.

What is the minimum age to work in the US? ›

As a general rule, the FLSA sets 14 years old as the minimum age for employment, and limits the number of hours worked by minors under the age of 16.

When did child labor start in the US? ›

The 1870 census found that 1 out of every 8 children was employed. This rate increased to more than 1 in 5 children by 1900. Between 1890 and 1910, no less than 18 percent of all children ages 10‒15 worked.

What is the biggest problem of child labor? ›

Child labour can result in extreme bodily and mental harm, and even death. It can lead to slavery and sexual or economic exploitation. And in nearly every case, it cuts children off from schooling and health care, restricting their fundamental rights.

Why child labor should not be banned? ›

Children work because their families are desperately poor, and the meager addition to the family income they can contribute is often necessary for survival. Banning child labor through trade regulations or governmental prohibitions often simply forces the children into less-desirable alternatives.

Why should child labor be stopped? ›

Entering the workforce too early diminishes a child's lifetime earning potential. Child laborers have very limited ability to take advantage of educational opportunities that would help them receive better-paying jobs as adults.

Is World Vision a bad charity? ›

Charity Intelligence has given World Vision a High impact rating based on demonstrated impact per dollar spent.

Who funds World Vision? ›

How is World Vision funded? World Vision receives a majority of its funding from individuals, foundations and corporations. Such private funding accounts for 63% of World Vision's operating budget, with the rest coming from multilateral agencies and governments.

What are World Vision core beliefs? ›

World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.

How do I stop sponsoring a child through World Vision? ›

To cancel your recurring donation or sponsorship give us a call at1.888. 511.6548. We're here to take your call during normal business hours (Pacific Standard Time).

What age does World Vision stop sponsoring children? ›

In many cases, children are sponsored until they finish school, reach the age of independence in their community, are able to support themselves, or marry.

What happens when you stop sponsoring a child? ›

If you need to cancel your sponsorship, your child will continue to receive care until we find a new sponsor. You can discontinue your sponsorship at any time. What does sponsoring a child mean? Sponsoring a child is when someone makes a commitment to helping a child in poverty.

When did child Labour end USA? ›

It was not until 1938 that Congress finally passed a child labor law (Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA) that would later be upheld by the Court.

How much child labor is in the US? ›

Child labor is a major threat to the health of children in the United States. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than four million children are legally employed and that another one to two million are employed under illegal, often exploitative conditions.

Is Nike using child labor? ›

In 1996, Life magazine ran a reportage on child labor that included a shocking photo of a 12-year-old Pakistani boy sewing a Nike football. Nike has strongly denied the claims in the past, suggesting the company has little control over sub-contracted factories.

Does child labour still exist in UK? ›

Children are mostly exploited for forced labour

When it comes to modern slavery in the UK, children are being exploited predominantly for forced labour (constituting 63% of referrals) – including forced criminal activity. This is opposed to other forms of modern slavery, such as sexual exploitation (20% of referrals).

What was the UK position on child labor? ›

Children can only start full-time work once they've reached the minimum school leaving age - they can then work up to a maximum of 40 hours a week. Once someone reaches 16, you may need to pay them through PAYE . Once someone reaches 18, adult employment rights and rules then apply.

Who stopped child labor in England? ›

The first major legislation created to place limits on child labor were a series of Factory Acts passed by the British parliament throughout the 1800s. These acts limited the number of hours that children could work and placed regulations on workplaces in terms of safety and cleanliness.

What is the youngest age to get a job in the world? ›

Bolivia is the country with the youngest legal working age!

Some of these include Europeans, Asians, Africans, and Amerindians. At 10-years-old, Bolivian children can work for themselves and their families. At 12, they're allowed to work for others outside of their parent's supervision.

Which country has the best child labor laws? ›

Switzerland comes second, and top in the protection category, which looks at child labour, adolescent birth rate and birth registration.

Is child labor illegal in China? ›

Farms need laborers and children are inexpensive to employ. A child laborer in China is any employee under 16 years. Under Chinese law, no one under the age of 16 can work and those who do employ children are breaking the law.

Which states banned child labor first? ›

In 1848, however, Pennsylvania became the first state to set a minimum age for factory workers, at 12 -- in effect, the first statewide "ban" on child labor, based on age.

Does the US Constitution ban child labor? ›

The Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persona under eighteen years of age. Section 2. The power of the several states is unimpaired by this article except that the operation of state laws shall be suspended to the extent necessary to give effect to legislation enacted by Congress.

What is the youngest age to get a job in Texas? ›

It is illegal to employ a child under age 14 except under specific circumstances described on this page. State law allows TWC to adopt rules regarding employing children.

What is the youngest age to get a job in Florida? ›

At what age can a minor work? A minor must be 14 years old to work. {Exemptions are children that work in a parent's business in a non-hazardous occupation, newspaper delivery (10 years old), pages in the Florida Legislature and minors approved to work in the entertainment industry.}

Can a 15 year old legally be hired in the United States? ›

Except in limited circumstances defined in law and summarized in the Child Labor Law Booklet, all minors under 18 years of age employed in the state of California must have a permit to work. Prior to permitting a minor to work, employers must possess a valid Permit to Employ and Work.

How old were kids in child labor? ›

According to ILO minimum age convention (C138) of 1973, child labour refers to any work performed by children under the age of 12, non-light work done by children aged 12–14, and hazardous work done by children aged 15–17.

Can 15 year olds work in Arkansas? ›

In most cases, a child must be at least fourteen to be employed in the workforce. In order to employ a child under 16, the employer must obtain a work permit from the Arkansas Department of Labor. There are limitations on the hours of work as well as the types of work a fourteen or fifteen year old can perform.

Why is child labor happening? ›

Poverty. 'Poverty is certainly the greatest single force driving children into the workplace. ' When families cannot afford to meet their basic needs like food, water, education or health care, they have no choice but to send their children to work to supplement the household income.

What were 3 negative effects of child labor? ›

Child labor was found to be associated with a number of adverse health outcomes, including but not limited to poor growth, malnutrition, higher incidence of infectious and system-specific diseases, behavioral and emotional disorders, and decreased coping efficacy.

How does child labor affect education? ›

Once engaged in child labor, children are often unable to return to school or continue their education. In many cases, employers actively prohibit children from attending school, while in others, the long hours demanded by employers make schooling practically impossible.

How does child labor affect the child mentally? ›

The psychological effects of child labor should not be ignored. Depression, drug dependency, PTSD, and other mental health issues are commonplace. While research on child labor and health is limited, the data that does exist shows negative effects. Labor also prevents a child from getting an education.

How can we stop child labor? ›

Providing educational services to enhance teaching quality and improve learning spaces. Providing support for parents to improve their incomes and food security so that children don't need to work. Advocating for national child labor laws and their enforcement.

Should kids be able to work? ›

Jobs help kids develop a sense of responsibility. Jobs help kids develop a greater sense of self. Teens that work a reasonable amount of hours—less than 15 hours a week—get better grades than teens who don't work. Jobs help kids learn to manage money and understand personal finance.

Does child labor help the economy? ›

Working children are both a cause and a consequence of a lack of economic development. Widespread child employment dampers future economic growth through its negative impact on child development and depresses current growth by reducing unskilled wages and discouraging the adoption of skill-intensive technologies.

Where is child labor most common? ›

Sub-Saharan Africa is the region where child labour is most prevalent, and also the region where progress has been slowest and least consistent.

How many children are in the world? ›

How Many Children are in the World? Currently, there are an estimated 2 billion children in the world ages zero to 14-years-old.

What are the pros and cons of child labor? ›

Child labour can lead to children being taught how to become productive, independent and also mature as an individual; however, child labour deprives children of their potential, dignity, and their childhood.

What is the mission et vision de Save the children? ›

Our pioneering programs address children's unique needs, giving them a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. In the United States and around the world, our work creates lasting change for children, their families and communities – ultimately, transforming the future we all share.

What is the goal of World Vision? ›

World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.

What is Unicef doing to stop child labor? ›

Our efforts develop and support the workforce to respond to potential situations of child labour through case management and social protection services, including early identification, registration and interim rehabilitation and referral services.

What is world vision theory of change? ›

WV's theory of change shows the different levels and types of influence on children's development, from the closest (micro level, e.g. families) to the furthest (macro level, e.g. national, global). Children are unique and affected by their contexts in different ways.

Who is behind Save the Children charity? ›

Our founder Eglantyne Jebb saw children dying of starvation and wracked with disease after the end of the First World War. So, in 1919, she launched the Save the Children Fund to raise much-needed funds to end children's suffering across war-torn Europe.

What is the vision of the daughters of charity? ›

Our vision is of a fair and just society, free from poverty and injustice, where each person is empowered to make their own choices and shape their future.

How many children has Save the Children helped? ›

Save the Children worked in 120 countries, including the United States, and helped more than 185 million children — including more than 62 million children directly.

Who benefits from World Vision? ›

World Vision Australia is a Christian organisation that works with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice.

What is the agenda of World Vision? ›

World Vision believes that every child and youth should grow up in a fair, just, and socially cohesive city; cared for and protected from violence; with equal opportunity to grow, learn, and contribute to shaping future cities.

Does child labor still exist today in the US? ›

Child labor is back. The Labor Department's wage and hour division recorded a 37 percent increase in 2022 in the number of minors employed in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which outlawed most child labor way back in 1938 and imposed strict limits on the rest.

Does child labor still exist today? ›

Child labor still exists in US, but we have the power to end it.

What are the top three UNICEF child protection issues in the United States? ›

Programme Menu
  • Violence in school.
  • Violence online.
  • Sexual violence.

Is World Vision sustainable? ›

World Vision's approach to sustainability is based on the understanding that our contribution to a community's journey will always be temporary. We define sustainability as 'the ability to maintain and improve upon the outcomes and goals achieved with external support after that support has ended'.


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