"There is no room for complacency when 215 million children are still labouring to survive and more than half of these are exposed to the worst forms of child labour, including slavery and involvement in armed conflict. We cannot allow the eradication of child labour to slip down the development agenda — all countries should be striving to achieve this target, individually and collectively"
Juan Somavia, ILO Director-General
A young boy carrying bricks at a construction site to earn a living in India. Credit: UN Photo/Jean-Pierre Laffont
Human rights and social justice...
Let's end child labour!
The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. Each year on 12 June, the World Day brings together governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society, as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them.
The ILO’s adoption of Convention No. 182 in 1999 consolidated the global consensus on child labour elimination. Millions of child labourers have benefited from the Convention, but much remains to be done. The latest figures estimated that 215 million children are trapped in child labour, and 115 million of these children are in hazardous work. The ILO’s member states have set the target for eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2016. To achieve this goal requires a major scaling up of effort and commitment.
A future without child labour is at last within reach. Significant progress is being made worldwide in combating child labour. The new global estimates of trends reinforce this message of hope. However, a strong and sustained global movement is needed to provide the extra push towards eliminating the scourge of child labour. This is no time for complacency.
The 2012 World Day Against Child Labour will provide a spotlight on the right of all children to be protected from child labour and from other violations of fundamental human rights. In 2010 the international community adopted a Roadmap for achieving the elimination of the worst forms of child labour by 2016, which stressed that child labour is an impediment to children’s rights and a barrier to development. World Day 2012 will highlight the work that needs to be done to make the roadmap a reality.