The World Day against Child Labour will be celebrated on 12 June 2010. It comes just one month after a major Global Conference on Child Labour is to be held in the Netherlands, the first event of its kind for more than 10 years. The World Day will provide an early opportunity for national and local activities to follow up on the momentum generated by the Global Conference, and to scale up the worldwide movement to tackle child labour. On this World Day we call for:
Renewed urgency to tackle the worst forms of child labour.
Scaling up global, national and local level efforts by making action against all forms of child labour an integral part of poverty reduction, social protection and education planning strategies.
Building political and popular commitment to tackling child labour, with social partners and civil society playing a leading role in advocacy and awareness raising efforts.
Tackling the Worst Forms of Child Labour
It is now ten years since the coming into force of the International Labour Organisation’s Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour (ILO Convention No. 182). The Convention has so far been ratified by over 90 percent of the International Labour Organization's 182 member States.
Millions of child labourers have benefited from the Convention’s drive against practices such as the use of children in slavery, forced labour, trafficking, debt bondage, serfdom, prostitution, pornography, forced or compulsory recruitment for armed conflict and all forms of work that are likely to harm the safety, health or morals of children.
However, despite the progress much remains to be done. Too many children remain trapped in such totally unacceptable forms of labour. The ILO’s member States have set a target of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016. To achieve this goal requires a major scaling up of effort and commitment. The envisaged follow up to the Global Conference in May 2010 provides an opportunity for countries to assess the progress made, what more needs to be done, and how to go about meeting the challenge.
Scaling up efforts through poverty reduction, social protection and education
In a statement on the occasion of the 2009 World Day against Child Labour, President Barack Obama stated that "Global child labor perpetuates a cycle of poverty that prevents families and nations from reaching their full potential.”
Our challenge is to break this cycle. Poor families may rely on the contribution that a child’s earnings make to the family budget, or because of inadequate family income may be unable to afford direct or indirect costs associated with education. Tackling such family poverty is a central part of the strategy to tackle child labour.
Ensuring adults have employment and decent work is vital. Governments can also implement social protection strategies which assist poor families. Cash transfer programmes and school feeding programmes have been found to have a strong positive impact in promoting access to education and reducing child labour.
Tackling child labour is closely related with progress on basic education. According to the most recent estimates, 72 million primary aged children of whom more than half are girls, and 71 million children of junior secondary school age, are not enrolled in school. In addition, many children who are enrolled are not attending on a regular basis. There must be a strengthened global, national and local level commitment to ensuring education for all children to the minimum age of employment, and opportunities for those youth who have missed out on the chance of formal education.
Building political and popular commitment to tackling child labour
Employers’ and workers’ organisations have been strong advocates for the ILO’s child labour Conventions. If we are to raise the level of national concern with child labour, employers and workers organisations must be centrally involved. Apart from governments themselves, the social partners will often be the best organised and most effective advocates for action. Speaking at the International Labour Conference in 2006 the ILO Director General said that "The ILO’s tripartite constituency are natural leaders in sustaining consciousness of child labour, keeping it on the agenda, and building alliances for its elimination, nationally and globally.”
Local civil society organisations can also play an important role in many communities in which child labour is a problem, by promoting awareness and attitudinal change against child labour and in favour of education and skills.
Join with us on 12 June 2010!
The World Day against Child Labour aims to promote awareness and action to tackle child labour. Support for the World Day has been growing each year. In 2010 we look forward to a World Day that is widely supported by governments, employers and workers organisations, UN agencies and all those concerned with tackling child labour.