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Child labour

by on November 1, 2012

A rather different take on age and work: The Touchstone blog on the TUC website highlights the issue of child labour in the week in which the UN calls for it to end by 2020.

The problem was also covered in this piece the Guardian.

The UN report warns that the current trend – without intervention – indicates no decline in child labour in developing countries and a predicted rise in the poorest nations. The article makes very grim reading with talk of promises of education in developing* countries being reneged on by organizations in the developed* world; worrying links between forced/child labour and multi-nationals; and particular industries (such as mining) featuring children in the workforce as young as 6.

The Guardian reports that the UN’s roadmap for tackling this problem has been inspired by Britain’s route to addressing and eradicating child labour in the 19th century. The UK ‘began by offering education to child workers in the 1830s, then banned children from working in hazardous conditions a decade later. By the 1880s Britain was imposing heavy fines on industries for employing children’. A reminder of how relatively recently childhood – as we now understand it – has been a widespread feature of life in the UK.

*I’m not keen on these terms but can’t immediately think of alternatives here.


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