More than 215 million children worldwide are involved in child labor, reports the International Labor Organization (ILO). More than half are exposed to slavery, forced labor, armed conflict, drug trafficking, and prostitution. Child labor denies young boys and girls the basic health, education, and childhood to which they are entitled.
Ten years ago today, the ILO launched “World Day against Child Labor” as a way to create awareness and educate the international community about the exploitation of children through child labor. This year’s theme is “Human Rights and Social Justice: Let’s End Child Labor.” Commemorative events include high-level panels, press conferences, awareness raising campaigns, and cultural performances in more than 50 countries around the world. Participating are governments, employers, UN organizations, NGOs, and others working to eradicate child labor. Additionally, the ILO is publishing a Policy Note titled, “Tackling Child Labor: From Commitment to Action,” that illustrates the steps being taken by ILO member states to address the issue.
“There is no room for complacency when 215 million children are still laboring to survive and more than half of these are exposed to the worst forms of child labor, including slavery and involvement in armed conflict,” said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. “We cannot allow the eradication of child labor to slip down the development agenda—all countries should be striving to achieve this target, individually and collectively.”