"Prevention is better than cure"
Rescuing and rehabilitating child victims is an expensive and difficult task. For some, the damage and trauma are so severe that it might be impossible for them to rejoin their communities or to become modern citizens. Thus prevention is not only desirable from a cost point of view, but also a humanitarian necessity. Preventing children from engaging in work is the most cost-effective measure because sustainable and long-term results in the fight against child labour will be achieved only when new generations of children are effectively prevented from entering work. The results of preventive measures are in many cases not immediately visible, which can make them less attractive in political terms. Moreover, to be more than superficial they must deal with the root causes of the problem. This may require scrutiny of the social fabric of society and an exposure of inequalities and vested interests.
Given that many countries do not have the infrastructure and resources to immediately undertake large-scale rescue and rehabilitation programmes for all child labourers and to enhance income generation for parents, the priority should be on the immediate prevention and removal of children from the worst forms of child labour and a step-by-step time-bound national programme of action to progressively eliminate all child labour.
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