WASHINGTON—Statement from American Federation of Teachers Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson, co-chair of the Child Labor Coalition, on World Day Against Child Labour:
"Children are our most precious resource. However, right now, close to 1 in 10 children around the world are engaged in child labor, according to estimates from the International Labour Organization. The United States is no exception. Lax labor laws currently allow kids as young as 12 to work in tobacco fields, where many contract acute nicotine poisoning.
"We must protect all children from being subjected to the worst forms of labor, from becoming victims of human trafficking and from being forced into armed conflicts around the world. At the same time, we must help them to pursue an education and obtain proper healthcare, and we must address the poverty and economic inequality that too often drives children to work.
"Today, the AFT joins the call for greater investments in children’s health and well-being, economic and social policies that keep families from falling into poverty, good jobs for adults and universal access to high-quality public education. Together, we can ensure that all children not only are free to dream their dreams, but also have what they need to achieve them."