Since working with my friend Bonnie Abaunza at the United Nations (UN) and their International Labour Organization (ILO), I have gotten quite an education in an array of social causes, travesties, and injustices occurring around the world.
One of the first campaigns with which I have been asked to support is the ILO’s Red Card for Child Labour Campaign. Upon delving into the facts about child labour (international spelling), I found myself tearing up and, oftentimes, bawling over my computer’s keyboard as I read articles, combed through photographs, and watched gut wrenching videos of and about children being used as laborers. And we’re not talking about a couple of hours helping out at Uncle Rupert’s pet shop.
No. We’re talking about slavery.
There are children of all ages doing the work of men, working for very little, if any wage at all. Many are being made to forgo an education in order to help their families make ends meet or to help greedy industries save money on production costs. We’ve all heard about sweat shops, but little kids making your GAP tees is just the tip of a massive social iceberg that is destroying the lives of children and, in part, the outcome of future generations.
But child labor is not new –– and is certainly not new in the United States.
Quite famously, photographer Lewis Hine documented the lives of child laborers in the United States.
In 1908 the then-sociology professor was hired by the National Child Labor Committee to document how children as young as seven were working in cotton mills and coal mines.
Over a decade he took thousands of photographs that helped convince US lawmakers to introduce new industrial regulations to protect children.
And, though there are laws in this country to protect children from becoming child laborers, there are plenty of people in this country and in the world who have no issues with breaking laws, the spirits of children, and their backs.
As a mother, as a human, this breaks my heart.
From the ILO:
The ILO’s Red Card to child labour campaign is gaining momentum, as actor and film director, Tim Roth joins forces with its artist engagement programme, ArtWorks.
His support will help raise awareness of fundamental rights at work, including freedom from child labour.
The ILO estimates that more than 100 million girls and boys are trapped in the worst forms of child labour – they are forced into slavery; trafficked into the sex industry or exploited in the drugs trade; or else they work in dangerous mines, and in other hazardous environments.
The ILO has the world’s largest programme to combat child labour, and this programme has helped free millions of children around the world.
What You Can Do:
Educate yourself. This will always be the number one call to action. Then, spread the word among your friends and colleagues at work. Parents, make other parents aware that children all over the world are being abused, their lives cut short, by child labor. Know that slavery still exists and children are a huge part of it. Know that this isn’t only happening in some far off land –– it’s happening here, right where you are.
The ILO wants you to:
- LEARN: Facts about child labour.
- WATCH: Tim Roth holding up his Red Card.
- READ: Nicolas Cage calls for an end to child labour.
- FIND OUT: What works to combat child labour.
- GET TO KNOW MORE: Check out the ILO topic portal.
- STAY IN THE LOOP: Get the ArtWorks Child Labour update and check back for new polls and other products.
SPREAD THE WORD
- ON TWITTER: Over the next weeks we will post new material almost every day. Follow us on Twitter and share our child labour news and encourage others to do the same.
- ON FACEBOOK: The ArtWorks Facebook page is where we share our views and news and the best visuals on offer. Like us, join the debate!
- EVERYWHERE: We try our best to give you new and exciting visuals. Save, print and share the Red Card to child labour!
RAISE YOUR VOICE
- SHOW YOUR SUPPORT: Share Tim Roth’s statement with your friends, colleagues and family.
- SPREAD THE MESSAGE: Raise awareness about child labour by simply clicking on the tweets you like below:
- Tim Roth says hold up your #RedCard to #ChildLabour! I’m holding up mine!
- I join the cause and hold up MY #RedCardto #ChildLabour with Tim Roth and the @ILONEWS!
- We can all help put an end to child labour. Hold up YOUR #RedCard!
- We made a promise to end #ChildLabour – hold up your#RedCard!
- We can end the worst forms of #ChildLabour. Hold up your #RedCard!
What I Want You to Do:
Print and cut out your Red Card (below) and take the most amazing selfie you can, then, post it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, everywhere! Tag me in your Instagram and Twitter posts at @karrineandco and I will post all your Red Card Selfies in an update, right here!
Go! Go! Go!