Recently, the U.S. media reported that the number of immigrant children entering the United States without parental supervision has reached record levels. Many of them would end up taking jobs that violate child labor laws. The news caused public shock.
According to a CGTN poll of global internet users, 91.2 percent of respondents feel strongly pessimistic about the current situation of child safety and protection of rights in the U.S., and 90.8 percent of respondents are disappointed with the U.S. government's performance in protecting children's rights. Besides, 92.6 percent of respondents agree that the U.S. showed a clear disregard for children's safety, while 91.7 percent of respondents believe that the problem of abusing child labor has exposed a huge flaw in the current legal system of the country.
Recent data released by the U.S. Department of Labor shows that the number of child laborers illegally employed by companies across the country has increased by 69 percent since 2018. During the last fiscal year alone, the Department of Labor found that there are 835 companies employing over 3,800 children, which has violated labor laws. These child laborers are working in a variety of industries across the U.S., including on construction sites, in high-risk cleaning jobs in slaughterhouses or in the manufacture of automotive parts.
The United States, which has always been a self-proclaimed "beacon of human rights," has still not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and has been repeatedly criticized by the International Labor Organization on the issue of child labor. The poll found that 81.2 percent of respondents believe the U.S. approach to children's rights is a sharp irony to its commitment to "human rights first."
The survey was published on CGTN's English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Russian platforms, with 22,935 users voting in 24 hours and over 1.53 million cumulative views.
China urges U.S. to ratify convention on rights of children
China urged the U.S. to ratify the UNCRC as soon as possible and take practical actions to protect children's rights, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Thursday.
Mao noted that the U.S. is the only UN member that has not ratified the convention, adding that child labor violations have soared in the U.S. in recent years, citing a recent report by the New York Times. "From mines to farms, from meat processing plants to metal stamping factories, tens of thousands of children work heavy and even dangerous jobs. "
At U.S. border detention facilities, thousands of children suffer from rampant diseases, unclean food and forced separation from their parents, she said, adding that American children and teens are 15 times more likely to die from gunfire than their peers in 31 other high-income countries combined.
The Chinese spokesperson said that, in 2022 alone, more than 6,000 children were killed or wounded in shooting incidents in the United States.
To realize full protection of child rights globally remains an uphill battle. China will continue to take an active part in international cooperation and work for greater progress in the global cause to improve children's wellbeing, she said.
(Cover: The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., U.S. /CFP)