12 June 2017 is the World Day Against Child Labour, a day promoted annually by the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 2002 to highlight the plight of child workers globally and what action must be taken to eliminate child labour.
The abolition of child labour has been a key aim of the ILO, which is a specialised agency of the United Nations, since its foundation in 1919. The United Nations defines child labour as:
…work carried out to the detriment and endangerment of a child, in violation of international law and national legislation. It either deprives children of schooling or requires them to assume the dual burden of schooling and work. Child labour to be eliminated is a subset of children in employment. It includes:
- All “unconditional” worst forms of child labour, such as slavery or practices similar to slavery, the use of a child for prostitution or for illicit activities;
- Work done by children under the minimum legal age for that type of work, as defined by national legislation in accordance with international standards.
The 2017 theme for World Day Against Child Labour is “In conflicts and disasters, protect children from child labour,” bringing attention to the fact that conflicts and disasters are major forces that push children into illegal and often harmful work. Over 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by conflict and violence, while around 200 million are affected by disasters each year. Millions of children are being pushed into child labour as a result.
The Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7 aims to “eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour” by 2030, but much more action must be taken globally if this is to be achieved.
For more information about World Day Against Child Labour, and the important work of the ILO and other organisations campaigning against child labour, head to: