2021: International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour

Leila Posenato Garcia Taís Freire Galvão About the authors

In 2017, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Resolution that declared 2021 as the “International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour”.11. United Nations. International Year for the Elimination of Children Labour. [New York]: UN; 31 jul. 2019 [acesso 03 mar. 2021]. Disponível em: http://digitallibrary.un.org/record/3814287
http://digitallibrary.un.org/record/3814...
The Resolution is aligned with the Sustainable Development Agenda (2015-2030), which recognizes extreme poverty as the greatest global challenge and its eradication as an essential requirement for achieving all three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental –, and comprises a set of comprehensive and transformational objectives and targets. Target 8.7 establishes the commitment to eradicate all forms of child labour by 2025.22. United Nations. Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development [Internet]. [New York]: UN; 2015 [acesso 3 mar. 2021]. Disponível em: https://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E
https://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.as...

Child labour is any form of work which deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that harms their physical and mental development. The International Labour Organization (ILO) considers that children are those aged under 18 years old, and lists four categories of the worst forms of child labour (Figure 1).33. International Labour Organization. Convention concerning the prohibition and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour [Internet]. [Geneva]: ILO; 1999 Jun 17 [acesso 3 mar. 2021]. Disponível em: https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/generalassembly/docs/globalcompact/ILO_C_182.pdf
https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/p...

Figure 1
– The worst forms of child labour, according to the International Labour Organization

The definition of child labour varies according to each country’s legal framework. In Brazil, children are not allowed to work before they are 14 years old. Between 14 and 24 years of age, being hired as an apprentice is permitted.44. Brasil. Lei n. 10.097, de 19 de dezembro de 2000. Altera dispositivos da Consolidação das Leis do Trabalho – CLT, aprovada pelo Decreto-Lei no 5.452, de 1o de maio de 1943. Brasília, DF: Diário Oficial da União; 20 dez. 2000 [acesso 3 mar. 2021]. Disponível em: https://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/leis/l10097.htm/Decreto 9579/2018
https://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/le...
Adolescents aged 16 and 17 years old are allowed to work, provided they do not work at night or in unhealthy, hazardous or onerous activities defined on the national list of the worst forms of child labour.66. Brasil. Decreto n. 6.481, de 12 de junho de 2008. Regulamenta os artigos 3o, alínea “d”, e 4o da Convenção 182 da Organização Internacional do Trabalho (OIT) que trata da proibição das piores formas de trabalho infantil e ação imediata para sua eliminação, aprovada pelo Decreto Legislativo no 178, de 14 de dezembro de 1999, e promulgada pelo Decreto n. 3.597, de 12 de setembro de 2000, e dá outras providências. Brasília, DF: Diário Oficial da União; 13 jun. 2008, retif. 23 out. 2008 [acesso 3 mar. 2021]. Disponível em: http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato2007-2010/2008/decreto/d6481.htm
http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_at...

Worldwide, according to ILO, in 2016 there were 152 million children working, with greater prevalence in Africa (19.6%), followed by the Americas (5.3%).77. International Labour Office. Global estimates of child labour: results and trends, 2012-2016. Geneva: ILO; 2017 [acesso 3 mar. 2021]. Disponível em: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_575499.pdf
https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public...
In Brazil, according to the results of the National Continuous Household Sample Survey – Child and Adolescent Labour, conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), in 2019 there were 1.8 million children and adolescents aged between 5 and 17 years old in situations of child labour, 706,000 of whom were working in the worst forms of child labour. Of the total population performing child labour, 53.7% were 16 and 17 years old, 25.0% were between 14 and 15 years old and 21.3% were aged 5 to 13 years old. The majority were male (66.4%) and were of black or brown skin colour (66.1%).88. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. Trabalho de crianças e adolescentes de 5 a 17 anos de idade: 2016-2019: PNAD-contínua. [Rio de Janeiro]: IBGE; 2020 [ acesso 3 mar. 2021]. Disponível em: https://biblioteca.ibge.gov.br/visualizacao/livros/liv101777_informativo.pdf
https://biblioteca.ibge.gov.br/visualiza...

Between 2016 and 2019, child labour prevalence dropped from 5.3% to 4.6% in Brazil.88. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. Trabalho de crianças e adolescentes de 5 a 17 anos de idade: 2016-2019: PNAD-contínua. [Rio de Janeiro]: IBGE; 2020 [ acesso 3 mar. 2021]. Disponível em: https://biblioteca.ibge.gov.br/visualizacao/livros/liv101777_informativo.pdf
https://biblioteca.ibge.gov.br/visualiza...
Notwithstanding, child labour continues to be one of the country’s most serious problems, and its falling trend may be interrupted with the advent of COVID-19. Interruption of school activities, resulting from the distancing measures needed to address the pandemic, and increased poverty, are factors that contribute to the growth in child labour. International agencies, such as ILO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have alerted as to this situation.99. UNICEF Data. COVID-19 and Child Labour: a time of crisis, a time to act [Internet]. [Geneva]: UNICEF; Jun 2020 [acesso 3 mar. 2021]. Disponível em: https://data.unicef.org/resources/covid-19-and-child-labour-a-time-of-crisis-a-time-to-act/
https://data.unicef.org/resources/covid-...

Health surveillance has an important role in addressing child labour. Surveillance systems that provide information about the profile of children and adolescents who work, where they are located, as well as the types of injuries and diseases that occur in this population, are essential for targeting and evaluating prevention efforts.1010. Wegmann D. Child labor in the US. Cienc Saude Colet. 2003;8(4):1029-37. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232003000400024. https://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1413-81232003000400024#:~:text=Although%20some%20states%20have%20enacted,to%2054%20hours%20per%20week
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1413-8123200300...
As such, the need exists to enhance national health information systems, so that they have adequate coverage, quality and timeliness for notifying health conditions related to child labour, including accidents, violence and death.

With the aim of drawing attention to the problem and highlighting the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, Epidemiology and Health Services: journal of the Brazilian National Health System has stamped on the cover of Volume 30 (2021) the colours of one of the pinwheel's blades, the symbol of the fight to eradicate child labour globally.

References

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    16 Apr 2021
  • Date of issue
    2021
Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde - Ministério da Saúde do Brasil Brasília - Distrito Federal - Brazil
E-mail: leilapgarcia@gmail.com