If everyone knows child labour is wrong,
Why Is It Happening?
The answer is that child labour results from complex root causes.
These can include poverty, shortage of resources, scarce opportunities for decent employment, and a lack of understanding about what child labour is and why it can be harmful to children and to the socio-economic development of communities and countries.
The ECLT Foundation works to alleviate these and all other root causes of child labour in tobacco-growing communities:
Poverty of households
- Households with low disposable income and wages that are below living standards tend to invest less in their children’s education and have a higher propensity to engage children in labour to supplement their income.
- Parents who have no work or who are working in low-quality, poorly paid jobs tend to be more vulnerable to poverty and thus send their children to work.
Lack of resources and investment in education
and social policies
- The lack of investment and cuts in public social programmes and adequate policies– particularly in education and social security – can contribute to pushing children into employment at an early age. Parents who fall ill or lose their jobs have no access to unemployment or sickness benefits and have no means of replacing their income.
- Orphanhood linked to AIDS, malaria, conflict, and other calamities has forced many children in developing countries to become their own breadwinners.
- In many countries the laws, policies and structures deemed to protect children and provide education and relevant skills are not effective or adequately implemented.
Lack of decent employment opportunities
- The largest part of the world population has no access to functioning local and international labour and trade markets that can benefit poor or low-skilled workers.
- Agriculture is a particularly challenging sector for decent employment opportunities, as it is the largest and one of the world’s most hazardous economic sectors and agriculture work tends to be very poorly remunerated. Yet agriculture represents the world’s key basis for subsistence, food security, income generation, and environmental sustainability.
- Lack of education and relevant vocational training exacerbates poverty and unemployment and perpetuates the cycle of poverty.
Lack of awareness
- In agriculture, children are often unpaid family workers. Children also act as unpaid domestic servants in their own homes, taking care of families’ needs while both parents work.
- Communities, families, and young workers themselves are often unaware that some work is child labour and that children have a right to education. This lack of awareness can make children less likely to complain or revolt.
In many rural communities, people believe that having children help their parents work is a good practice. They do not realize that this help may be child labour and that it can be harmful.
Working together with all relevant stakeholders, we can address these root causes and put an end to child labour.
- Of 2.2 billion children worldwide, 1 billion live in poverty.
- 3.5 million children worldwide have lost their parents to AIDS.
- 57 million children of primary school age are not in school.
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Pledge in Action
Through the Pledge of Commitment by ECLT Foundation Board Members, ECLT Board Members pledge to make the appropriate policy commitment to eliminate child labour. Members who are tobacco buyers and manufacturers pledge to apply this commitment throughout their entire tobacco-sourcing supply chains and help build the capacity of farmers and farmers’ organizations. ECLT Foundation Members Pledge