Opposing all slavery in the 21st centuary

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2007 National Black Members' Conference
19 January 2007

Conference notes recent British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) news reports on the growing number of child brides across the world, and the growth in abduction of children from their homes, as well as the problem of families ‘selling’ children to unscrupulous businessmen.

It is clear that international laws are being ignored in some countries as they become more developed economically. In some instances children as young as six years old are working up to 14 hours per day producing matchsticks in unclean and unhealthy ‘sweat shops’ where the sulphur is so strong that many are developing chest and breathing problems and their fingers becoming discoloured permanently.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children are both alarmed by the increasing number of children who are being sold into these situations as demands for cheap goods from India increases from the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States.

Conference believes it alarming to see that in remote parts of some countries, e.g. India, girls as young as seven years old are being ‘married’ off to older men or boys as young as ten.

Conference asks that the National Black Members’ Committee (NBMC):

1)raise this issue with their Regional International Committee to seek support in writing to their local Save the Children/UNICEF offices to campaign against the ongoing exploitation of all children;

2)seek to work with the National Executive Council and International Department to lobby the Foreign Secretary, UK Ambassador to the United Nations and any other relevant governmental/international bodies to support the campaign to stop this abuse of children.