How to tell the difference between ‘child work’ and ‘child labor’

Published by rudy Date posted on May 27, 2011

The International Labor Organization is working with the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to educate Filipinos on how to distinguish child labor from “child work”.

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA— The International Labor Organization (ILO) encourages Filipinos to report cases of child labor in the country. It is important, however, for citizens to know what constitutes child labor.

The ILO, in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), reiterated this call as eliminating child labor is part of the Millennium Development Goals by 2016.

Giovanni Soledad, International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) program manager, said it is important to distinguish child labor from “child work” so authorities can work better with local communities.

In Republic Act 9231, also known as “Special protection of children against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination Act”, a child refers to any person below 18 years of age.

“Child labor is any work or economic activity performed by a child that is hazardous to his or her physical mental and psychosocial development,” explained Soledad.

A “working child”, on the other hand, is one engaging in economic activity, provided that the the child is directly under the responsibility of the parents or legal guardian. Children who are working in the entertainment industry are the examples of a “working child”.

But Soledad said that if the work burdens the child and it is too heavy for his age and capabilities, then it is child labor especially if the child is unsupervised by caring adults.

Also, child work has limited hours, which still allow kids to play or engage in school activities, while child labor suppresses every child’s right to go to school due to very long hours of work. Child labor also has very limited reward or compensation whether  psychological or material.

Concerned citizens should take note that a child’s work should serve for social advancement and improvement of the child’s quality life. Child labor, on the other hand, does not grant any social security and benefits.

If a local community notices that children are subject to psychological, physical, sexual and verbal abuse, there is reason to report the establishment to local authorities.

Soledad added the ILO and the DoLE are working together with local government units to rescue child laborers. –Marjorie Gorospe

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