An Indian boy watching straight into the camera. (Source: Bastian Strauch)

It's time to talk: Giving child labourers a voice

When the fourth Global Conference on Child Labour is held in Argentina in 2017, it will include the views of girls and boys who work in dangerous and intolerable conditions for the first time. This is the goal pursued by the children's relief organisations Kindernothilfe, terre des hommes and Save the Children with their international campaign "It's Time to Talk – Children's Views on Children's Work". Child labourers around the world are being surveyed to gather information about their concerns, problems and ideas for the future. The results of the global project provide initial insights into how the issue of child labour is viewed by those who are affected: the child labourers themselves.

Until now, their views have been totally inadequately heard in the international debate among politicians, trade unions and industry. "Even at previous global conferences on the issue of child labour, working children were not given an opportunity to speak", says Katrin Weidemann, Chairperson of the Kindernothilfe Executive Board. "Nonetheless, it is the children and young people who are most familiar with their situation and often have very concrete suggestions for improvement".

The campaign "It's Time to Talk"- - is supported by a number of international organisations, including Save the Children and terre des hommes. "By the year of 2017, we will have surveyed working children and youth in Africa, Latin America and Asia concerning their lives, problems, opinions and hopes for the future", says Danuta Sacher, Chief Representative of terre des hommes in Germany: "Every step of this survey will be monitored by children's committees that serve as consultants to ensure that the views of working girls and boys remain the focus of this initiative".

The results will be combined by experienced social scientists working together with the children in a study that will be published in 2017. "Children have a right to be included when the debate revolves around their lives," adds Kathrin Wieland, Managing Director of Save the Children Deutschland, "as stated in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and realising this right for child labourers is the goal of our campaign".

Donations account:

Bank für Kirche und Diakonie eG,
IBAN: DE92 3506 0190 0000 4545 40
Payment purpose: Z8330, It's Time to Talk