Avatar Attorney. Project Manager. Child Rights Advocate. Youth Development Consultant. SDG Advocate. Mentor.
Chima F. Madu
Member since June 22, 2013
  • 28 Posts
  • Age 30

I had an argument with a friend, a few days ago about the rights of a child. In the course of the argument i realised that most of the reasons he had against various rights of the child were based on ignorance rather than fact. For example he said prohibiting child labour promotes the idea that children have a right to disobey their parents and not do any work they dont feel like. This is so wrong and it prompted me to write this little piece because i believe there are many others out there who think the same way my friend does.

Every child has a right to freedom from forced and exploitative labour. In the fight to eliminate all forms of child labour it is important to understand that not all work done by children is classified as child labour. Child labour should be differentiated from child work.

The term “child labour” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.

It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; deprives children of the opportunity to attend school or leave school prematurely; requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work and work that is in violation of a country’s minimum age laws. In its most extreme forms, child labour involves child slavery, debt bondage, children separated from their families, child trafficking, children exposed to serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities – often at a very early age. Whether or not particular forms of “work” can be called “child labour” depends on the child’s age, the type and hours of work performed, the conditions under which it is performed and the objectives pursued by individual countries.

On the other hand “child work” refers to a positive participation of children in an economic activity, which is not detrimental to their health or mental and physical development; on the contrary, it is a beneficial work, which strengthens or encourages the child development. It allows a normal schooling and does not impede the child from doing leisure activities or resting. This includes activities such as helping their parents around the home, assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and during school holidays. These kinds of activities contribute to children’s development and to the welfare of their families; they provide them with skills and experience, and help to prepare them to be productive members of society during their adult life.

Know the difference and report all forms of child labour to the appropriate authorities.

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