1.1. Background of the Study
Despite the world‟s promises to care for every child, the scourge of child labour still leaves countless children deprived of their most basic rights. A majority of countries have adopted legislations to prohibit or placed severe restrictions on the employment of children, much of it guided by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Despite these legislations and efforts, child labour continues to exist on a large scale. Elimination of child labour cannot be at the strike of a pen for it is deeply ingrained in cultural and social attitudes and traditions intricately linked to poverty. Children work because their survival and or that of their families depend on it, and in some unfortunate cases because some unscrupulous adults take advantage of their vulnerability and naivety.
Article 32 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted in 1989 requires State Parties to recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child‟s education, or to be harmful to the child‟s heath or physical,mental, spiritual, moral or social development.
In the year 2000, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that there were over 200 million child labourers worldwide. Of these 200 million, 180 million are suspected to be engaged in the worst forms of child labour, which can be summarized as, ‘those activities . . . [that are] inexcusable under any circumstance and must be eliminated without delay” (ILO, 2002: 1). That is to say, approximately 90 per cent of working children are engaged in labour that is, by nature, detrimental to their psychological and physical well-being. These include, labour that is performed by a child who is under the specified minimum age for that type of work, hazardous work and, children engaged in types of child labour to be abolished.
The elimination of the worst forms of child labour has come to be recognized as crucial for sustainable social and economic development. By 1 February 2002, 115 countries had ratified the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention No. 182. The convention recognizes that those forms of child work defined as hazardous to a child’s well-being or unconditionally at odds with a child’s basic human rights should be absolutely prohibited by any person under the age of 18 (ILO, 2002: 11).