|Action Against Child Labour (ILO, 2000, 356 p.)|
The process of communication is central to the achievement of the ultimate goal of eliminating child labour. All programmes and activities to this end should include communication strategies that make it possible to create or enhance awareness, mobilize the target groups, address notions and myths about the issue, clarify misconceptions and contribute to clear and precise knowledge of the issue. Although the problems and solutions are complex, the message has to be clear, precise and simple.
Guidelines for the effective use of communication strategies for the elimination of child labour require that:
· all programmes should have a communication component;
· communication opportunities should be identified at the programme design stage;
· special communication campaigns, using single or multi-media channels, should be considered;
· both traditional and modern channels of communication should be explored;
· the message should be simplified by repackaging technical information or legal documents before communicating it, or by translating documentation into local languages;
· the perspectives and perceptions of the working children and their families should be reflected;
· media attention should be encouraged on related issues such as education and health, poverty alleviation, adult employment opportunities; and
· communication processes within a programme and communication about a programme should be differentiated: both are important to different target groups.
Box 8.2. Traditional theatre
The commercial agriculture and plantation sector in the United Republic of Tanzania has been associated with a generally high incidence of child labour. Various interventions by IPEC partner agencies in recent years have, however, significantly changed the scenario on tea, coffee, sisal and tobacco plantations across the country, with children being withdrawn from work and reintegrated in schools. Trade unions as well as employers are taking decisive measures to prevent child labour on plantations and rural communities are campaigning against it.
The many and varied programme activities implemented by agencies include public awareness-raising on child labour, using drama groups with the assistance of the Tanzania chapter of the African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN). Targeting three tea and tobacco plantation districts in Iringa region, ANPPCAN has involved schoolteachers and cultural officers to organize and train 26 drama groups, involving 795 primary school children, with a view to sensitizing rural communities on child labour to reduce and eventually prevent child labour on plantations. The organization of the drama groups drew upon the experiences of the traditional rural media in which cultural groups give performances in the form of songs, dances and plays, with specific messages pointing out and decrying practices and behaviour that are unbecoming or inconsistent with the norms and values of the community.
There has been a 25 to 30 per cent reduction in the incidence of child labour on the plantations in the three districts, while school enrolment and attendance have improved. Village governments have made land-lease arrangements for landless peasants to enable them to earn incomes and withdraw their children from plantations, and have instituted by-laws against child labour in the three districts.
Box 8.3. Comic strips: Samroeng goes to work
Child Workers in Asia, an NGO collecting and distributing information about child labour abuse, demonstrates what can be done in reaching children. It produces comic books that portray the hard life of many working children. These are distributed to schools and other places where they are likely to be seen and read by children. Each country in the region has its own comic book, which draws from material collected there. For example, the book for Thailand reports the tragic case of a real boy, Samroeng.
Source: Center for Protection of Children's Rights, Bangkok
Box 8.4. Beware! Brazil is watching you
The above slogan is the lead message of a nationwide campaign in Brazil against the commercial sexual exploitation of children, initiated by EMBRATUR (the Brazilian Tourist Agency). The campaign uses various communication channels to build a national and international information network about the hazards to children in sex tourism, and the links between Brazilian and foreign groups which organize sex tours to Brazil. The awareness-raising campaign is funded by the Ministry of Justice and implemented through NGOs working in child abuse prevention programmes and tourism-related activities.
Brazil had long promoted tourism, with promises of beautiful women alongside the samba, carnival and football stereotypes. To counter this sexual come-on, the Ministry of Justice is advising media and advertising groups to refrain from using images and expressions highlighting the physical attributes of young Brazilian women in newspapers and television, and particularly in tourism promotional materials. More importantly, it is building up a network among INTERPOL, local and international NGOs, and governments concerned with the exploitation of children in sex tourism.
Media professionals from EMBRATUR's marketing group have designed a strategy to:
· raise public awareness about the criminal character under Brazilian law of child sexual exploitation;
Brazilian embassies and consulates, especially in Western countries, now issue visas with an accompanying pamphlet warning tourists that they will be prosecuted for any sexual contact with minors. Tour agencies have been advised to similarly warn their clients.
Large-scale media support is a critical ingredient in the campaign. Local, national and international newspapers, television and radio disseminate information on the problems of children in sex tourism, on the lures and mechanisms of the child sex industry and agencies, and on the efforts of government and NGOs to curb the victimization of children. International media involvement has been particularly directed to countries where organized charter tours tend to originate, such as Germany, Italy, France and Switzerland.
Various awareness-raising materials have been produced and disseminated around the campaign's logo and the slogan, "Fight Child Sex Tourism". These include T-shirts, billboards, airline tickets, passport inserts, and hotel doorknob cards. A warning stamp bearing the message is distributed in tourist areas and placed inside hotel rooms.
Positive results are evident, particularly in terms of citizens reporting observed violations through telephone hotlines and prompting investigations, as well as the closing down of a number of bars and nightclubs after proven violations within their premises.