The recent tragedy off the coast of Lampedusa, resulting in the loss of many lives, is once again a poignant reminder that the quest for better and safer livelihoods and decent jobs is taking on more desperate proportions. It is a bitter irony that this incident took place while the United Nations General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, held in New York on 3-4 October 2013, was discussing how best to maximize the benefits of international migration for development, including for migrants themselves. It is through human beings – men, women and children, and their families, that migration and development connect.
The number of child workers across the world now stands at 168 million, a one-third drop since 2000. This is both encouraging and worrying. It is encouraging because 11 year-old boys have been rescued from being child soldiers in Myanmar, girls in Malawi no longer work from dawn till late at night doing domestic chores and can now attend school, and children forced to beg in Romania are now safe in rehabilitation centers.