ON June 12, the international community observes the World Day Against Child Labor amid the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
There are an estimated 152 million children in child labor, 72 million of whom are in hazardous work. These children are now at even greater risk of facing circumstances, like the pandemic.
Philippine laws prohibit anyone under the age of 18 to engage in hazardous work, including underground and underwater gold mining.
In some parts of the country, however, children risk their lives in gold mining sites to help their families.
The Philippine Statistics Authority has estimated that about 2.1 million Filipino children are exposed to hazardous labor.
Globally, there are about 152 million children engaged in work that deprives them of a normal childhood, 72 of whom are in hazardous work, including mining.
To address the problem, the United Nations has set Sustainable Development Goals that aimed to eliminate child labor by 2025.
Pope Francis marked the June 12 celebration of World Day Against Child Labor with an appeal to institutions “to make every effort to protect minors.”
LiCAS.news reporter Mark Saludes has been documenting hazardous child labor in small-scale gold mines in the towns of Camarines Norte province in the northern Philippines since 2014.