Elizabeth Kiem is the online producer for unicefusa.org.
A new U.N. report presents good news and bad news on the subject of child labor.
A survey of conditions in 50 different countries published by the International Labor Organization found that while the number of girls and children under the age of 15 who are compelled to work has fallen, the number of boys age 15-17 classed as laborers rose. Whether the result of economic hardship or something worse – trafficking or exploitation, these children’s situation will have a lasting impact on their health, happiness and well-being.
|Oberd NoÃ«l packages coal for sale to support his family in Haiti.|
This week’s Monday photo is of Oberd NoÃ«l. The 14-year-old is the eldest of seven children living with their family in a shelter in a stadium in the Delmas district of Port-au-Prince. Oberd packs coal in small plastic bags, which he sells on the streets to help support his family.
We feature Oberd, because today’s report finds trends in child labor improving for children in Latin America, even as they worsen in sub-Saharan Africa.
As with so many other conditions for children, Haiti is far below regional standards. The devastation caused by the earthquake has only highlighted its burden.
Child labor is a tragic reality for 215 million children worldwide according to the most recent data. That includes 115 million engaged in work that involves extreme heat, dangerous materials or hours in excess of 40 a week.
A two-day conference “Joining forces against child labor” begins today in the Netherlands. UNICEF will be in attendance.