World Day against Child Labour

2002 12 Jun

Every year on June 12 the World Day Against Child Labor is observed to raise awareness of the plight of child laborers world-wide. Hundreds of millions of girls and boys around the world are affected.

The World Day Against Child Labour is an International Labour Organization (ILO) sanctioned holiday first launched in 2002 aiming to raise awareness and activism to prevent child labour. It was spurred by ratifications of ILO Convention No. 138 on the minimum age for employment and ILO Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labour. The World Day Against Child Labour, which is held every year on June 12, is intended to foster the worldwide movement against child labour in any of its forms.

The World Day against Child Labour this year will focus particularly on the importance of quality education as a key step in tackling child labour. It is very timely to do so, as in 2015 the international community will be reviewing reasons for the failure to reach development targets on education and will be setting new goals and strategies.

The most recent global estimates suggest some 120 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are involved in child labour, with boys and girls in this age group almost equally affected. This persistence of child labour is rooted in poverty and lack of decent work for adults, lack of social protection, and a failure to ensure that all children are attending school through to the legal minimum age for admission to employment. 

The International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations body which regulates the world of work, launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 in order to bring attention and join efforts to fight against child labour. This day brings together governments, local authorities, civil society and international, workers and employers organizations to point out the child labour problem and define the guidelines to help child labourers.

According to ILO's data, hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are involved in work that deprives them from receiving adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating this way their rights. Of these children, more than half are exposed to the worst forms of child labour. These worst forms of child labour include work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour, illicit activities such as drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.

The World Day Against Child Labour provides an opportunity to gain further support of individual governments and local authorities, as well as that of the ILO social partners, civil society and others, in the campaign to tackle child labour.