Older persons are highly visible across Asia and the Pacific: they work in agricultural fields producing our food supplies, peddle their wares as street vendors, drive tuk-tuks and buses, exercise in our parks, lead some of the region’s most successful companies and form an integral part of our families.
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted lives all over the world. According to this report
, gender is emerging as a significant factor in the social, economic and health effects of Covid-19. Women have been hit much harder socially and economically than men. The greatest and most persistent gender gap was seen in employment and uncompensated labour, with 26% of women reporting loss of work compared with 20% of men
globally in September 2021.
At the pier, Salvadoran fisherman Nicolás Ayala checked the pocket of his pants to make sure he was carrying the hypertension pills he must take when he is at sea on a 24-hour shift. He smiled because he hadn’t forgotten them.
Arien Pauls-Garcia’s journey to working with at-risk youth in California was long and dangerous and started at 19 when she found herself sold and exploited by traffickers.
Here goes another fact: 230 million migrant workers are now a major life-saving source for up to one billion people starving in the world’s poorest communities, as well as a vital lifeline for the economy of their countries of origin.
Selimatha Dziedzorm Salifu was just seven years old when she went to work for the first time to support her family.
Born in the fishing village, Kpando-Torkor, in Ghana, Salifu, was forced to go out and work in the local fishing industry when her father Seidu died, leaving her mother, Mary, with six children to feed, clothe and shelter. The industry is well documented for child slavery and trafficking.
Samuel Sasu Adonteng, programme officer for the All-Africa Students Union (AASU), believes that the recent 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour has taken us closer to ending child labour for the first time because the voices of those affected were heard.
Lucky Agbavor sleeps on a mattress in a church in Accra, Ghana sells juice to earn an income, and has been a child labourer since he was four. Now he has made an impact on the international stage when he participated in the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child labour.
"All we ever wanted was to keep working. And although we have not gotten to where we would like to be, we know that we can," says Edith Pereira, a short energetic woman, as she walks through the corridors of Farmacoop, in the south of the Argentine capital. She proudly says it is "the first pharmaceutical laboratory in the world recovered by its workers."
A class war is being waged in the name of fighting inflation. All too many central bankers are raising interest rates at the expense of working people’s families, supposedly to check price increases.
The Asia-Pacific region is at a crossroads today – to further breakdown or breakthrough to a greener, better, safer future.
Since the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) was established in 1947, the region has made extraordinary progress, emerging as a pacesetter of global economic growth that has lifted millions out of poverty.
Governments of the world must focus on providing quality free education and prosecuting corrupt officials and people who siphon state and donor funds as crucial steps towards taking decisive action to fight child labour across the globe.
Ashley has vast work experience. She has laboured by the sweat of her brow in the blistering sun on the streets of Guatemala, in the open fields on farmlands and indoors, toiling for long hours to the hum of a sewing machine.
Her work resume might be impressive to some – street trader, farmworker and tailor – but she, like 160 million children around the world, is trapped in child labour, working desperately to support her impoverished family and provide for her education.
Amar Lai’s first memories are working alongside his parents and siblings in a quarry, breaking rocks. He was aged four.
Now chatting to Lai, a confident 25-year-old human rights lawyer, it is hard to believe he was once a child labourer.
Technology used to trace the origin and price of consumer goods to ensure farmers earn fair profits could easily be adapted as a tool to fight child labour Fair Trade living wage and income lead Isa Miralles told delegates at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour.
With a strong commitment from governments, businesses, labour and consumers, the scourge of child labour can be eliminated, says Dr Joni Musabayana, Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Pretoria, South Africa.
Global goals to eradicate child labour will not be achieved without a breakthrough in Africa, where most of the world’s 160 million children entrapped in child labour work in rural regions, mostly in agriculture with their families.
"Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to eliminate child labour." So said Dennis Sinyolo, Director of Education International's African Regional Office in Accra, Ghana adapting liberation icon and late South African president Nelson Mandela's famous quote about how education can change the world.
Tara Banjara was four and a half years old when her parents put her to work on the roads, cleaning the garbage and rubble out of potholes to prepare for construction in Nemdi village, Rajasthan, India. She worked in the wind, cold, and rain with her mother, day in and day out, year in and year out. She would return home shattered, too exhausted to eat before falling asleep each night.
Despite World Day Against Child Labour launched in 2002 by the International Labour Organization (ILO), little has changed over the past two decades for the millions of children who remain trapped