Examples of NGOs in action
Box 9.3. Community action against child trafficking
In Nepal, IPEC has been supporting direct action by an NGO at community level. The NGO, Maity Nepal, has formed surveillance groups in the districts seriously affected by child trafficking and is carrying out campaigns with the help of college students and victims of trafficking. It has set up a prevention-cum-interception camp at an important transit point. The camp provides shelter, basic education and vocational training for girls who are at risk of being sold into prostitution, as well as for those who have been rescued. At the end of their training, the girls are helped in finding employment or setting up a small business. Another transit home is being set up at Kakkarvita, near the Nepal-India border, to provide shelter to girls who have been rescued from brothels in India and repatriated to Nepal.
Maity Nepal coordinates its activities with NGOs in India for the rescue and repatriation of victims, some of whom have been living in government-run homes for long periods of time. On the Nepalese side, it works with the police and other authorities for the rehabilitation of child victims and the prosecution of the offenders. The victims are often traumatized and many suffer from serious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, needing immediate medical attention and psychological counselling. The NGO plans to provide a wide range of rehabilitation services to help children regain their self-esteem and become self-reliant.
In Thailand, since 1992, IPEC has supported an NGO called Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Center (DEPDC). DEPDC aims to prevent child prostitution and child labour by providing alternative education to girls at high risk of exploitation. These include children from families id extreme poverty, often with debts, children of tribal communities, children from broken homes and children of drug-addicted parents. Alternative education provided by DEPDC is a combination of formal and non-formal education and basic skills training. In addition, it has been raising awareness among parents and the community concerning the sexual exploitation of children, child labour and potential options that DEPDC and other organizations can provide to parents and children.
DEPDC has learned that, owing to the lack of education and abject poverty among rural and tribal communities, young girls in the North are easy targets for the trafficking movement. Through intervention by DEPDC and others, many of them are prevented from becoming victims of trafficking. While the DEPDC experience is very valuable, the problem is too complex for DEPDC to solve alone. The mobilization of other actors in the field is therefore one crucial action strategy to protect and prevent such children from entering the sex trade.
Box 9.4. Targeting child domestic workers
In the Philippines, a particularly successful project is being carried out by an NGO known as Visayan Forum. Because it is virtually impossible to make contact with child domestic workers, "Luneta Outreach Activities" was organized at Luneta Park, in Manila on Sundays, where child domestic workers gather. It has proved to be an effective way of organizing and providing direct services to child domestics. Launched with IPEC support in 1995, the project has achieved the following results:
• Children have been assisted to leave their abusive working conditions and reunited with their families or relatives.
• Basic needs of child domestic workers, such as temporary shelter, medical care, legal assistance, counselling, and schooling expenses, have been provided on a regular basis.
• Children have been enabled to support their peers and negotiate better working conditions.
• Many children have gained leadership skills and have been able to take part actively in advocacy and awareness- raising programmes, resulting in improved practice by employers, and a greater understanding of the situation by society and policy makers.
During the last two years, Visayan Forum has been able to consolidate and provide direct services to 1,500 child domestic workers and has also been successful in expanding operations in three more cities, tracing about 2,000 more.
The Forum has organized various consultations with the domestics themselves, human rights groups/institutions and legal practitioners to map out a common strategy to lobby for the adoption of the proposed House Helper Act.
In the United Republic of Tanzania, a Tanzanian association of women journalists and lawyers (TAMWA) took the lead in the child domestic workers prevention campaign, in response to concern over the growing number of girls under 14 recruited from rural areas to work as domestics in the cities of Dar-es-Salaam, Arusha and Mwanya. Over 4,500 girls in six urban centres have been reached by TAMWA. Girl domestics are paired with women domestic workers who offer them individual support and guidance.
The TAMWA centres are located at major crossroads where the girls are recruited. TAMWA contacts the girls upon their arrival in cities and provides them with basic assistance. The programme is also raising awareness among parents and institutions responsible for the welfare of children, religious bodies and women's groups. A multimedia awareness campaign was launched which included broadcasting the problem through radio programmes, producing and distributing pamphlets and cartoon booklets, and developing a video and a play for community theatre. Village-based seminars for parents and community leaders have exposed the harsh realities that can face girl domestics in towns and have contributed to a sharp decline in recruitment of young girls from rural areas.
Box 9.5. The Global March against child labour
To promote worldwide action against child labour, a Global March was initiated by NGOs, in collaboration with workers' organizations, between December 1997 and June 1998. This global campaign involved an alliance of 350 organizations in 82 countries. It aimed to mobilize worldwide efforts to protect the rights of all children, especially their rights to receive free, meaningful education, to be protected from economic exploitation, and to be freed from performing any work that is likely to be damaging to their physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.
Global March campaigns were organized at national and international levels in different continents starting in Asia in January 1998 and continuing in Latin America, Africa, North America and Europe. The March converged on Geneva at the time of the International Labour Conference (ILC) in June 1998.
Core marchers were joined by other marchers in the participating countries. Activities in these regions included thousands of people demonstrating against child labour, cultural events, such as theatre performances and concerts, and core marchers meeting with local officials. In Geneva, there were community activities and the March delivered its message to the delegates of the ILC and expressed support for the ILO's proposed new Convention on the worst forms of child labour (adopted in June 1999).
The Global March was received at ILO Headquarters by the ILO Director- General, and by ILO delegates. A Global March sculpture depicting child labour and children's rights to education was unveiled in the ILO grounds.
A round table meeting was organized, attended by marchers, ILC delegates and representatives of NGOs. A press conference was also organized.
Again in 1999, Global March activities took place in Geneva before and after the ILC in June. These included an international workshop in which former working children and their families discussed the reality of the worst forms of child labour, and their views on effective measures which had been or could be implemented. They presented the conclusions of the workshop to Ruth Dreifuss, President of the Swiss Confederation, Juan Somavia, Director-General of the ILO and Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Global March children also presented a dramatic interpretation of their plight to Conference delegates through mime. An exhibition graphically illustrated the lives of children in the worst forms of child labour.