Today marks the 12th annual World Day Against Child Labor, started by the International Labor Organization (ILO) to highlight the plight of hundreds of millions of children engaged in work that deprives them of education, health, and basic rights. Many of these children are enslaved.
This year, the ILO focuses on ensuring that children are not exposed to abuse and exploitation in domestic work. The organization releases a report today, which estimates more than 10 million children perform domestic work. The report outlines the types of violence and abuse they face.
FTS is one of many organizations working to put an end to child slavery in domestic work.
Our program in Haiti targets a system known as restavek, which affects about 10 percent of all Haitian children. Thousands of children from rural communities are sold to serve as domestic workers in urban areas, waking before dawn to cook, clean and run errands that last late into the night. Most never go to school and many are abused physically and sexually.
Through our local partner, Fondasyon Limye Lavi, FTS has trained more than 600 community members in child rights and reproductive health through an in depth, community-based process.
This has inspired parents to retrieve 20 children from restavek in the past year. Villagers are forming community child protection committees that serve as watchdog groups to look out for restavek traffickers. Our Haiti program also helps community organizers that support needy families at risk of sending their children into restavek.
The protection of children is a major component of all FTS country programs worldwide.
On this World Day Against Child Labor, FTS is pleased to announce that we have recently joined the U.S.-based Child Labor Coalition, which consists of leading human rights organizations working to combat exploitative child labor domestically and globally.