SDGs and the elimination of child labour

Social partners tackling child labour

There are good examples of trade unions and employers’ organizations playing a key role in the elimination of child labour in the rural sector.

  • In India for example, in Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, trade unions and their recently organized rural members are implementing the concept of child labour-free villages through dialogue with local leaders and employers. Many collective agreements are being concluded targeting child labour.
  • Similarly, the Federation of Uganda Employers has set up child labour monitoring committees at the local level, including in the coffee, tea, rice and sugar sectors.
  • Collaboration and alliances are also being formed between trade unions and representative organizations of indigenous people, especially in Latin America. In some countries this has led to the inclusion of indigenous organizations in national committees on the prevention and elimination of child labour.

The Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the world leaders in 2015 (Target 8.7) calls on all to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of all forms of child labour by 2025 as an essential step to achieving decent work for all, full and productive employment and inclusive and sustained economic growth.

ILO action on the abolition of child labour has intensified over the last four years and significant advances have been made since the first Global Report on the subject. The challenge over the next four years will be for the ILO to work in a more focused and strategic way to act as the catalyst of a re-energized global alliance in support of national action to abolish child labour. This transformation in approach to global leadership will ensure that the ILO will contribute more effectively to consigning child labour to history.

The ILO promotes specific action on the following fronts:

  • Universal ratification of the ILO child labour Conventions and all the ILO core Conventions.
  • Ensuring a new focus on national policies and programmes to promote an integrated approach to all fundamental principles and rights at work.
  • Broadening integrated area based approaches to tackle the root causes of child labour.
  • Aligning the minimum age for admission to employment and the age for completion of compulsory schooling.
  • Strengthening workplace safety and health for all workers, but with specific safeguards for children between the minimum age for admission to employment and the age of 18 by preparing and/or updating hazardous child labour lists.
  • Promoting and strengthening the functioning of institutions and mechanisms aimed at monitoring the effective application and enforcement of fundamental rights at work including protection against child labour, (courts, tribunals, magistrates, labour inspectors and child labour monitoring).
  • Continuing development of advocacy and strategic partnerships at international, national and community level and promoting the worldwide movement against child labour.
  • Replicating and expanding good practices that have produced sustainable results.