UN labour agency reports alarming number of children doing exploitive work

Ten years after launching a worldwide campaign against child labour, the International Labour Organization (ILO) today issued a landmark global study showing that an alarming number of children are trapped in the worst forms of this abusive practice.”Despite the increasing commitment by governments and their partners to tackle child labour worldwide, it remains a problem on a massive scale,” said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. “While there has been significant progress towards the effective abolition of child labour, the international community still faces a major uphill struggle against this stubbornly pervasive form of work that takes a tragic toll on millions of children around the world.””A Future Without Child Labour,” the ILO’s most comprehensive study on the subject, found that 246 million children – or one in every six aged 5 to 17 – are working, while one in every eight – some 179 million children aged 5 to 17 – is still exposed to the worst forms of exploitive jobs which endanger their physical, mental or moral well-being. Some 8.4 million children are caught in slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, forced labour, forced recruitment for armed conflict, prostitution, pornography and other illicit activities, according to the report.”The important thing that we’ve done in this report is to move from denial to awareness,” Mr. Somavia told a press briefing in New York. He stressed the need to ensure that parents are at work and children are at school. “If parents don’t have a job, access to employment, the possibility for income, inevitably there is going to be pressure on children,” he observed, calling for communities to establish “child-labour-free zones.”Based on its research, the ILO is calling for the approximately 111 million children currently doing hazardous jobs to be “immediately withdrawn from this work.” It is also recommending “urgent and immediate protection” for the additional 59 million youths aged 15 to 17, who must also be withdrawn from such work.The release of the report was timed to coincide with the General Assembly’s three-day special session on children, which is set to open on Wednesday. The study will also be discussed at an ILO meeting on 12 June in Geneva, when the agency plans to launch an International Day Against Child Labour aimed at stopping the practice. read more

Weekly US unemployment benefit applications drop 42K to 338K seasonal factors cloud

Weekly US unemployment benefit applications drop 42K to 338K; seasonal factors cloud figures by Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press Posted Dec 26, 2013 6:37 am MDT WASHINGTON – The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits dropped by 42,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 338,000, the biggest drop since November 2012. But economists say the figures from late November and December are warped by seasonal volatility around the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays.The Labor Department reported Thursday that the less-volatile four-week average rose 4,250 to 348,000.Claims had jumped 75,000 over the two weeks that ended Dec. 14 before plunging last week. The Labor Department struggles to account for seasonal hiring by retailers and other businesses and for temporary layoffs of cafeteria workers and other employees at schools that close for the holidays.Unemployment claims are a proxy for layoffs and the recent declines are consistent with a solid job market.The economy has shown signs of improvement recently, so much so that the Federal Reserve announced Dec. 18 that it would reduce its stimulus spending on bonds by $10 billion — to $75 billion a month. The economy expanded at a 4.1 per cent annual pace from July through September, the fastest rate since late 2011 and much greater than previously thought.Hiring has been healthy the past four months. The economy added an average of 204,000 jobs every month from August through November, an improvement from earlier this year.The unemployment rate fell in November to a five-year low of 7 per cent. Still, that remains above the 5 per cent to 6 per cent rate that would signal a normal job market. And long-term unemployment remains a big blot on the economy’s performance: Nearly 4.1 million Americans have been unemployed for six months or more.Before 2008, the number of long-term unemployed had never surpassed 3 million people, according to records dating back to 1948. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more