Topic: Children and women labour abuse: ways to prevent further escalation
Children and women labour abuse is a problem world-wide and when it affects their health and personal development or interferes with their education, it violates their freedom and human rights.
Children and women are protected by a great number of treaties of the United Nations and by the majority of the national Constitutions. Several International treaties or conventions, for example, have banned child labour and have identified concrete measures for governments to take. But is making laws enough to prevent children and women labour? Obviously not. Though the United Nations Organization has already created a large number of international conventions setting legal standards to prohibit the exploitation of children/women labour, the problem remains widespread. After all, laws mean very little if they are not enforced. Besides, specific measures attacking child labour must be taken at the national level. As a result, we have gathered here to deal with a great deal of issues, such as forced labour, trafficking, debt bondage and other forms of modern slavery.
The Bulgarian accession to the European Union on 1st January 2007 required important changes to existing Bulgarian legislation and new legislation with a view toward equal treatment for women and men and the protection of women?s rights in general. Discrimination on grounds of gender is prohibited by the Constitution of Bulgaria. Bulgaria has also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against women (CEDAW) which sets up an agenda for national action to end any kind of discrimination including the field of work. In this respect, significant laws aimed at improving women?s rights in every area.
The Constitution prohibits forced and bonded labour, including by children. The labour Code, which ensures the freedom and protection of labour as well as the equitable and dignified working conditions, sets the minimum age for employment the age of 16 and the minimum age for dangerous work the age of 18.
The Constitution states that employees are entitled to healthy and non-hazardous working conditions, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy is responsible for enforcing these provisions. The law also requires joint employer and labour health and safety committees to monitor workplaces conditions.
The issue of trafficking is an increasing concern for Bulgaria and it has been a criminal offense under the Bulgarian Criminal Code since 2002. Measures have been taken to prevent and defy trafficking in human beings (Article 1.1.3 LAW ON COUNTERING TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS) including imprisonment and heavy fines. Moreover, the national Programme on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings adopted in 2005 aims to build administrative structures, increase society?s knowledge of the human trafficking problem, and institute mechanisms for its limitation.
Taking all these important issues into account, Bulgaria strongly believes that all state members of the United Nations should join together and cooperate towards the elimination of such phenomena that degrade human dignity. If we consider that 21 million people around the world fall victims of forced labour abuse, it is an immediate necessity that we should take measurements to address children/women exploitation. Our proposals encompass the implementation of the international treaties legal framework and the organization of campaigns worldwide on creating awareness on children/women rights. It is also very essential that each and every nation provides free and compulsory education, ensuring that children attend it full time.
Finally, in order to ensure implementation of the provisions set by the treaties, all governments should make periodic inspections of places at which employment of children is prohibited and hazardous occupations or processes are carried out.