World Day Against Child Labor – National Consumers League

By Paula Osborn, NCL Public Policy Intern

Paula is a child labor public policy intern at the National Consumers League. She’s from Albuquerque, New Mexico and, this fall, will begin her senior at Johns Hopkins University, where she’s studying Psychological and Brain Sciences, with a minor in Spanish for the Professions and a pre-law concentration.

My mother always used to tell me to clean my plate at dinnertime because there were starving children in China who would love to have the food I had in front of me. Last week, I learned that mothers should also be telling their kids to go to appreciate being able to go to school every day because there are 72 million children all over the world who would love to be in their place.

Last week, child labor advocates honored World Day Against Child Labor with a panel discussion to address this year’s theme: Education – The Right Response to Child Labor. A dozen panelists elaborated on education being the key to poverty reduction, attaining social justice, and enhancing skills for productivity and economic growth. Panelists argued that ensuring basic education for all is the most direct and cost-effective way of eliminating child labor and, in turn, the elimination of child labor is a prerequisite for any country’s fast economic development.

An excerpt from “Rescuing Emmanuel,” a film by Len Morris, showed street children from Nairobi exclaiming their desire to go to school, a luxury they were not afforded. Millions of children living on the streets have the same dream. To learn more, visit the International Labour Organization.

A few months ago, I was looking for possible internships for the summer, when I came across the National Consumers League, which needed a Child Labor Policy Intern for its Child Labor Coalition for the summer. I was immediately intrigued; I am very interested in protecting human rights, especially children because they cannot help themselves. At Johns Hopkins, my focus is child labor in Latin America and the United States, especially focusing on child labor in agriculture.

In my first few weeks at NCL, I have been—and will continue to—going to many conferences, events, and panel discussions on child labor-related issues, which I will be relaying back to you through my blogs. Stay tuned!