The International Situation on Child Trafficking and Child Labor

Trafficking for forced labor is a phenomenon where people are moved for exploitative labor or services “usually involving an agent/recruiter, transporter, and a final employer” and deriving profit from them. It manifests in different ways: bonded labor or debt bondage, involuntary servitude, domestic servitude, or child labor.

Statistics indicate that Asia-Pacific has the biggest number of forced laborers in the world – 11.7 million or 56 percent of the total forced laborers worldwide (adults and children). According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), three out of 1,000 people worldwide are in forced labor (children and adults).

Globally, about 168 million children are victims of child labor, making up about 11 percent of the total child population (ILO 2013). Over 85 million of children remain in hazardous work, among them trafficked children. Asia and the Pacific have the most number of child laborers (not necessarily trafficked children), numbering about 78 million (9.3 percent of the child population). Most of them are found in the sectors of agriculture, service, and industry (mostly informal sector).

Child Trafficking and Child Labor in the Philippines

According to the 2011 NSO and ILO joint national survey, there is an estimated 5.492 million working children aged 5 to 17 years. An estimated 3.21 million(58.4 percent) were considered to be in child labor, referring to children who:

Are reported to have worked in hazardous work environments regardless of the number of hours they spent at work,
Or those who have worked for long hours (i.e. more than 20 hours a week for children 5 to 14 years old or more than 40 hours a week for children 15 to 17 years old)

Of the total number of working children in hazardous labor, two-thirds were boys while one-third were girls.

Among children in hazardous labor, the largest percentage resided in the regions of Central Luzon (10.6%) and Bicol (10.2%). The provinces which had high numbers of children in hazardous labor included Nueva Ecija, Bukidnon, Negros Occidental, Cavite, Laguna, Sultan Kudarat, and Davao City.

Childhood is a critical time for safe and healthy human development. Children experience a critical stage of growth and possess special characteristics and needs – physically and mentally (thought / learning). They must be given time to go through behavioural development and growth, vital in their maturation. Child laborers are exposed to illness, injury, and various physical, chemical, psychosocial, psychological, and socio-economic effects. The long-term effects of exposure to such hazards have a big impact on a child’s physical, psychological, and socioeconomic well-being.

#FREE: Fight for Our Rights, End Exploitation!

June 12 2014 marks the day that PACT launches a campaign against child trafficking for labor exploitation, in line with the commemoration on June 12 of the World Day Against Child Labor. The campaign aims to:

  1. Create a groundswell of protest against child labor,
  2. Change perceptions that favour or tolerate child labor in certain communities, and
  3. For the government to take more decisive action to prevent and stop child labor / child trafficking for labor exploitation

The campaign aims to specifically emphasize the role of children/youth in the anti-child trafficking for labor exploitation.

Consistent with PACT’s goal to strengthen child protection in the communities, PACT calls for the following:

  1. Conduct awareness-raising activities in the communities to gradually change cultural perceptions that tolerate child labor;
  2. Proactively implement the laws pertaining to child labor – RA 9208 and RA 7610 as amended by RA 9231;
    1. Prosecute violators of the anti-child labor laws – RA 9208, especially those pertaining to child labor and RA 7610 as amended by RA 9231;
    2. Institutionalize programs for the prevention and response to the child trafficking for labor exploitation.
    3. Lobby with the LGUs for improved programs and services for children and youth at risk of child trafficking for labor exploitation
    4. Increased resources/budget allocation or the setting up of programs that will support the campaign;
  3.  Call for the activation (formation ) and/or strengthening of the child protection mechanism in their areas;
  4. Call for cooperation of the different sectors and stakeholders in the community, including media in raising the awareness and in strengthening child protection mechanisms.