Why Child Labour needs to end and what you can do to help

Today millions of children across the world won’t be getting that Friday feeling; they’ll be forced to work.


168 million children worldwide in child labour - UNICEFWhat is World Day Against Child Labour?

It’s a day to raise awareness about children of all ages who are forced to work. Around the world there are around 168 million children having to work, according to charity Unicef.

Child labour is defined as the employment of children which is unfair, illegal or exploitative. Child labour is dangerous as it can mentally and physically damage the children working.

It’s estimated more than half of child workers are employed in farming and agriculture.




Why should I care about this?

World Day Against Child Labour - A child carries bricks on their head

That doesn’t look safe… or fair

Think back to when you were six or seven. Would you rather have been playing out in the garden or lifting bricks nearly as heavy as yourself?

Children around the world are sent out to work by their parents. For many families across the world it’s not that they would choose to send their children out to work. Extreme poverty means they just don’t have a choice.

Not going to school might seem like the dream. But if children are sent out to work instead they are denied an education and this has an impact on their future prospects. Reports by the International Labour Organisation have shown that children forced into child labour have a greater chance of working in low paid or unpaid positions in the future. Or in Monopoly terms: Do not pass go; do not collect £200.


So is this slavery?

World Day Against Child Labour - Scene from Game of Thrones with Emilia Clarke

Dragons aren’t slaves… neither are children, Khaleesi

Not in every case; but many children do work in conditions that aren’t that much better than slavery.

However, child slavery is also a big problem. According to the International Labour Organisation, 8.4 million children worldwide are working in slavery. This includes working as prostitutes, drug runners and as child soldiers in war zones. Not nice stuff.


Many children are trafficked far away from their homes and families to work. Children in these situations often have no contact with loved ones and no way to get home.


Is this a third world problem? Surely this doesn’t happen near me?

World Day Against Child Labour - Scene from Perfume with Ben Whishaw

Closer to home than you might think…

This isn’t just happening far away on the other side of the world. A report quoted by the Guardian states that 12 million children in child labour are working in developed countries.

As far as slavery is concerned; it’s now illegal in every country. Despite this, people are still working in slave conditions on every continent in the world, according to Anti-Slavery International.

This includes people given no choice but to work. They are often threatened. People are sold off and treated as goods, and some are kept in captivity. It’s been estimated there are around four thousand slaves in the UK. It’s unknown how many of these are children, but it’s a problem which needs addressing.


OK, I’m convinced. What can I do?

Raising awareness is the first step. The number of children in child labour has dropped since 2000 by 1/3rd but there is still a long way to go. There are many groups and organisations which provide information about Child Labour. Unicef and Anti-Slavery International, to name just two, are campaigning to end Child Labour. They are also a good source for tips on how to fundraise.

In 2015 the UK government passed the Modern Slavery BillThis increased the punishment for human trafficking from 14 years in prison to life imprisonment. It also created a defence so those forced to commit crimes will not be punished for them. From now on the criminals may have to do the dirty work themselves.

Online Action

People are using the #childlabour to show their support for this cause. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and do some good!

Twitter reaction to World Day Against Child Labour

#childlabour – what’s your view?

What we learned; child labour is definitely not OK – we can all do something to help, however small it may seem.

What is the best way to end Child Labour?


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Charities; a force for good or just a massive con?

What are Charities?

charity-where-does-your-money-go-tree-huggers-save-the-trees-lion caresses a christmas tree

Charities help those in need. This could be; people, animals or even environment. Power to all the tree huggers!

A charity is an organisation that helps those in need. Think; people, animals, environment.

Charities collect donations which are meant to be used for charitable causes. For example, when the Nepal Earthquake hit, several charities collected money to help those affected.

Charities are “nonprofit organisations”. This means any money they receive goes to the aims of the organisation. They also don’t get taxed on donations they receive.


Why are we talking about Charities?

A review commissioned by the government has recommended that people should be allowed to choose not to be contacted by charities. Cold-calling and other forms of fundraising are also being reviewed. If charities break the rules they could face a fundraising ban.

“Charities need to view and approach fundraising no longer as just a money-raising technique, but as a way in which they can provide a connection between the donor and the cause.”

People are questioning the methods charities use in order to get donations. It was reported a pensioner called Olive Cooke took her own life after being “hounded” by charities. She had recently cancelled her direct debit payments to the charities. Cooke’s family later said that charities had nothing to do with her death, but not before the story was picked up by all top tier news publications.

Some charities use call centres to contact people and to pressure them for donations. Scenes of Reason spoke to someone, who would prefer to remain anonymous who has fundraised for a well-known charity:

“The worst was that the people who tended to sign up would be little old ladies who don’t really have the money but don’t want to say no. I just used to let them go if I felt they couldn’t afford it – that seemed to be the main response. But if you ask three times they give in.

The tactics were basically guilt tripping. You had three pages of script designed to make them feel bad”

These call centres often set targets. Hit these and you get extra dollars in commission; fail and your job is on the line.

“They wanted a 25% conversion as a target… they would send you home [if you didn’t meet the target]. We got £3 for every sign up. People would get annoyed the third time you asked for money but we’d get told off for not asking three times… the managers would stand around you like hawks”


Doesn’t sound great… but it’s all for a good cause, right?

charity, where does your money go, charity bosses pocket millions of pounds, rocky horror picture show  how about that

Charities such as Age UK and The British Heart Foundation spend under 50% of their income on charitable activity! Well well well…

Questions have also been raised over how much of the money donated actually goes to the cause.

Most charities should aim to put 75% of money received into charitable activities. The rest is spent on office costs, staff pay and promotional campaigns. The 75% target is according to the American Institute of PhilanthropyWith a name like that they sound like they know what they’re talking about.

But some charities actually fall WELL below this target. Charities such as Age UK and The British Heart Foundation spend under 50% of their income on charitable activities.


Where is the money going?

charity, where does your money go, charity bosses pocket millions of pounds, man rubs his hand signalling raining money, dollar dollar bills yo

There have been examples of charity executives pocketing millions of pounds! Could that be where your donations go??

There have been examples of charity executives pocketing millions of pounds. At least 30 charity bosses from the UK’s largest charities were paid over £200,000 in 2014. Maybe they see themselves as a charitable cause?

Some charities also end up spending so much on promotional campaigns there isn’t much money leftover to spend on charitable stuff. In 2013 UK charities spent £394 million on advertising. Not much left to actually help then?

As well as call centres charities also fork out masses of money on “Chuggers”. Charity muggers are those insanely happy chappies who hang around by stations and shopping centres. Make eye contact with them at your peril. Charities like Cancer Research UK, Save the Children, British Heart Foundation and many other spend millions of pounds on Chuggers each year; the equivalent of over £100 per each sign-up donation in some cases. Chuggers are often hired through third-party companies so some of the charities’ money ends up in the bosses’ pockets.

Food for thought: Recently accused of corruption FIFA is actually a non-profit organisation. But that doesn’t mean all charities are dodgy:


Most charities are good though, right?

It’s easy to distrust the big charities when you hear horror stories about what they get up to.

Joe Saxton, the founder of charity research group NFP Synergy thinks “one thing charities need to get better at doing is making people feel that it’s OK to say no, rather than making them feel hassled and under pressure, especially if those people are vulnerable.”

However he also thinks it’s important to remember that most charities are actually there for a good cause:

What you’ve got to remember is around half of all charities have an income of less than £10,000 a year. Even more than that have no paid staff… the number of charities that are “fronts” for anything they shouldn’t be is absolutely tiny. That’s still too many and there have been a few high-profile examples but the vast majority of charities are there to do good work and they do actually do good work. More charities means more people being charitable.

So, don’t believe the horror stories. The majority of charities are doing good things.


Today’s learnings; charity is definitely a good thing, but you shouldn’t feel pressured into donating. Local charities are always a trustworthy option.

Is it better to donate to charity or actually go out and help somebody yourself? Is charity donation just a way to feel better about yourself?