Working to end child exploitation

Wearing the T shirts they designed and made to publicise their campaign against child labour, left to right; Chantelle Churchill, Charlotte Frost and Laura Nicholson with Jacqueline Cadger from Sunderland YMCA.

Wearing the T shirts they designed and made to publicise their campaign against child labour, left to right; Chantelle Churchill, Charlotte Frost and Laura Nicholson with Jacqueline Cadger from Sunderland YMCA.

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YOUNG people have been learning about the darker side of fashion as they tackled a project on child labour.

Residents of the YMCA in Sunderland have been discovering how some mass-market clothes are produced.

And they decided to showcase their new-found knowledge with an awareness raising event at the centre in Toward Road.

The group, aged 16 to 24-years-old, also created their own outfits for the event by ‘up-cycling’ clothes - re-working unwanted or worn out items into must-have fashion items.

Co-ordinator Jacqueline Cadger, 27, helped oversee the workshops and a £1,000 cash boost from grant giver YCare helped fund the project.

She said: “The idea at the beginning of the project was about clothes.

“We put in for funding to run three workshops on the history of child labour, who used it and what we can do to prevent it.

“We met every Tuesday and the young people learn life skills, from using the sewing machines and up-cycling.

“A volunteer from the Glass Centre came in and helped with printing logos and we came up with our ‘Free from Child Labour’ slogan.”

Around 20 young people were involved at different stages of the project and three youngsters, two volunteers and a member of staff, donned t-shirts designed by the group.

They also listened to speakers from charity Save the Children and Tradecraft.

Jacqueline added: “They learnt life skills, they learnt social skills because they are coming together and also a bit of education for them, learning about other cultures.”

CHILD labour refers to the employment of children as sustained labour.

This practice is considered exploitative by many international organizations and is illegal in many countries, including the UK.

Child labour was employed to varying extents through most of history, but entered public dispute with the advent of universal schooling, with changes in working conditions during the industrial revolution, and with the emergence of the concepts of workers’ and children’s rights.

In many developed countries, it is considered inappropriate or exploitative if a child below a certain age works .

An employer is usually not permitted to hire a child below a certain minimum age. This minimum age depends on the country and the type of work involved.