A Conversation with the STEM Academy about Child Labor
On May 29, 2014, the ILO Office in Washington D.C. (ILOWAS) had a Skype discussion about child labor with students from East Orange Stem Academy High School in New Jersey. Mr. Erick Zeballos, the Deputy Director of the ILO, and Ly Le, a graduate intern at the organization, led the event. The students raised questions about the strategies of the ILO, specific country-based programs, measures to raise awareness, and the role of the US in eradicating child labor. Mr. Zeballos stressed the suffering of children working on tobacco plantations in the US and the resistance to child protection in countries such as Bangladesh. The students also familiarized with examples where the International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) had a positive impact in preventing child sexual exploitation and bringing children back to school in Madagascar. STEM Academy students learned about the Red Card to Child Labor campaign and the various ways in which they can take part in ending child exploitation. The event highlights the severity of child labor that is plaguing 168 million children in the world, including those in the United States. It also underscores the important role of young students in spreading their voices of concerns to eliminate child labor worldwide.