Today, child labour might seem like a thing of the past. However, this unfortunate practise continues worldwide – in some cases, far closer to home than many think. The increasingly difficult economic climate hasn't helped the cause to wipe it out, and in many poorer countries this is something that has been a problem for years.
The International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) has recently released data showing that child labour among people aged 15 to 17 has increased, particularly among boys.
How you can help the cause:
It is all too easy for people to turn a blind eye and in some cases, even forget that child exploitation of this nature is going on. However, if you want to do your bit for a very worthy cause there are numerous ways in which you can become part of the fight against child labour.
Know what you are buying: Many of us walk into shops and buy products without thinking twice about their origins. If you are unsure about the origins of the items you are buying, ask the retailer you are buying from and let them know that you want to purchase only products that have not stemmed from child labour. The more people who raise this with retailers, the more they will listen.
Make donations: There are various groups who work tirelessly to try and put a stop to child labour. While you may not have the time and resources to physically help them, you can make donations. Even if you don't have spare money in your account, you can raise money in a number of ways. For example, if you have designer clothing that you no longer wear, you can find websites where you can sell designer clothes and use the money you receive to donate to a child labour charity.
Educate yourself and others: There is a lot of information out there about child labour, but many of us simply never take the time to look. Educating yourself about child labour will help you to find new ways to contribute to the cause as well as enabling you to pass information and resource details onto friends and family.
Write letters: You may feel that writing a letter to try and bring an end to child labour is pointless – after all, what good will one letter from an unknown person do? However, if enough people take the time to do this, governments of countries that use child labour may start to listen, and your letter will be just as important as the many others that are sent in. It is important to be proactive rather than apathetic, as your actions will form part of a bigger picture.
Buy Fairtrade: Many people do not even consider the origins of the products that they are buying. However, you can make an impact by opting for Fairtrade products when making purchases, as this means that you will be giving support to positive practises where child labour is not involved.
These are all simple and straightforward ways in which you can contribute towards bringing child labour to an end. They are also very effective steps, which can really make a difference if enough people abide by them.
Image By Shanjoy (Shanjoy) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons