Global events planned to spotlight plight of child domestic labourers, UN says

31 May 2004

With rap music and pinwheels, marches and solemn statements, numerous organizations across the planet will mark the third World Day Against Child Labour on 12 June this year with a specific focus on efforts to spare young people from working as domestics, the United Nations Labour Organization (ILO) has announced.

As part of the commemorative events, the agency will launch a new report in Geneva entitled, "Helping Hands or Shackled Lives? Understanding Child Domestic Labour and Responses to It."

The ILO says that most children employed in other people's homes are “grossly exploited and abused.” While the practice is sometimes rationalized as a “better” alternative for children from poor families, the study recommends feasible and realistic action to help these youngsters.

“It is vital that child domestic labour, so often neglected because exploitation and abuse takes place behind closed doors, receives attention,” said June Kane, the report's author. “We have to remind ourselves that children are not just doing 'odd jobs;' they are in a workplace – even if it is someone else's home.”

Among the global activities planned to mark the Day are a rap music performance by children in Niger as well as a special march in Brazil, the ILO said. Nepal will use the occasion to launch a major social mobilization campaign to change general perceptions about child labour.


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