Training to fight child labour

From 18 to 22 February the Turin Centre is hosting the ILO-IPEC (International Programme for the Eradication of Child Labour) interregional staff meeting: 68 specialists, coordinators and focal points from Geneva headquarters and 38 duty stations around the world are discussing the Programme’s priorities and strategy.

José Maria Ramirez (Spain) is the Centre’s programme manager for this subject.

Mr. Ramirez, how did the Centre’s training programme on child labour start?

In 2005, the Centre, in collaboration with the ILO’s IPEC, expanded its training activities by developing a specific course portfolio in the sphere of child labour. Together with other subjects, such as forced labour and trafficking of human beings, child labour has become a regular feature of the Centre’s training programme on international labour standards and human rights.

How did it move forward?

In the biennium 2006-7, almost 800 women and men coming from the five continents took part in 26 training activities, ranging from seminars for judges and lawyers to workshops designed for employers’ organizations; from national reporting on child labour Convention training courses to strategic planning workshops for specialists that around the world lead the fight against  child labour.

What next?

Apart from organizing this important IPEC global staff meeting, during the year we will run many other activities, in Turin and in various other parts of the world, tackling subjects such as the worst forms of child labour, particularly in the agricultural sector, the trafficking of girls and boys, their exploitation by the sex industry, as well as the analysis of policies, laws and legislation on child labour at country level. Finally, in March, we will launch a special project, co-financed by the European Commission, which aims at contributing to increasing knowledge and capacity in the field of children associated with armed groups and forces, through a series of research and capacity-building activities.

So far you have spoken about specialist training. Do you also run awareness campaigns or other activities aimed at civil society?

Yes, indeed. As an example, thanks to collaboration with the City of Turin, every year hundreds of students come to visit the Centre’s campus and learn about various development and labour-related issues, including child labour. We are also contributing to the ILO’s awareness campaigns: for instance, on Sunday 17 February a special presentation of Dante’s “Inferno” performed by an Italian ballet company took place in Turin in the framework of the ILO’s SCREAM project (Supporting Children’s Rights through Education, Arts and the Media), a project which aims at disseminating a wider knowledge of the issue amongst civil society, hence promoting its commitment against child labour.

Is the end of child labour in reach?

The issue is complex and its solution requires an adequate process. The ratification of the ILO’s international labour standards, their inclusion in national legislation and their strict application are essential. Training of all those who have to deal with the issue has proved to play an important role in support of the above. Yet child labour has been reduced in recent years, and certainly it can be defeated, but only through a deep knowledge of the problem by civil society as well as through its active involvement.

International Training Centre of the ILO

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