12 June – World Day against Child Labour – Launch of the Thai Frozen Foods Association’s Policy against child labour and forced labour, Samut Sakhon, Thailand

To mark World Day against Child Labour, members of the Thai Frozen Foods Association launch their policy with commitment to promoting a safe and motivating working environment that is free of child labour, forced labour and discrimination.

Press release | Bangkok, Thailand | 12 June 2012

This year, the World Day against Child Labour will provide a spotlight on the right of all children to be protected from child labour and from other violations of fundamental human rights. Children enjoy the same human rights accorded to all people. But lacking the knowledge, experience or physical development of adults and the power to defend their own interests in an adult world, they also have distinct rights to protection by virtue of their age.

  • In 2010, the international community adopted a Roadmap for achieving the elimination of the worst forms of child labour by 2016.
  • Some 215 million children across the world are still trapped in child labour and it is estimated that 5 million children are in forced labour.
  • In Asia and the Pacific, child labour is declining but the region has the most child labourers ages 5-17 (113.6 million, more than 48 million of them in hazardous work.
  • There continues to be a need for specific future actions: strengthening workplace safety and health for all workers with specific safeguards for children between the minimum age for admission to employment and the age of 18.

Thailand has made significant progress in tackling child labour over the last two decades thanks to economic development combined with progressive education and health policies. The country now has a strong legal and policy framework to address child labour and its worst forms. Yet, some forms of exploitation remain among vulnerable groups and, particularly, among unregistered migrants from neighbouring countries. Child labour continues to be documented in production and service sectors including manufacturing, agriculture, seafood processing and fisheries and domestic work.

Thailand has substantially aligned its national legislation to existing international standards through a National Policy and Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labour (2009 – 2014) and other legal instruments such as:

  • Child Protection Act (2003) - protects children from being abused and commercially exploited;
  • Labour Protection Act (1998) and its Ministerial Regulation No 6 - establishes 15 years old as the minimum age for admission to employment and set forth the types of hazardous work for which it shall be forbidden to employ persons under 18 years of age;
  • National Education Act (1999) - provides access to basic education for all and equal right for Thais to receive basic education of quality and free of charge for the duration of at least twelve years.

The Constitution of Thailand itself provides that “the state shall implement the economic policy as to promote job opportunities for people in working age, protect women and child labour, to promote labour relations and the tripartite system”.

In the sub-region, the ILO International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) works actively through proactive projects to help countries to meet their obligations in terms of compliance with their international commitments. In Thailand, the ILO/IPEC Project “Promoting Better Working Conditions in Thai Shrimp and Seafood Industry” aims to strengthen the policy and implementation frameworks to protect the rights of Thai and migrant workers. It also aims to create a shrimp and seafood processing industry that is free of child labour and offers decent working conditions and opportunities to all workers, including migrant workers who contribute to the economic development of the industry and the country.

The Project also focuses on providing better access to education, social protection and livelihood services to migrants and Thai children and their families. The ILO works in partnership with Thai Government (Ministry of Labour – Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives – Department of Fisheries), as well as Farmers’ Associations, civil society, Workers’ and Employers’ organizations (Employers’ Confederation of Thailand – ECOT and Thai Frozen Foods Association - TFFA).

“Private sector plays an important role in addressing child labour and generally in improvement of working conditions together with trade unions and Government” says Mr Tuomo Poutiainen, Project Manager of IPEC Thailand. “This year’s focus on human rights and social justice for the World Day against Child Labour is a good occasion to launch TFFA’s new policy and to remind the importance of ensuring that enterprises throughout the shrimp and seafood processing industry supply chain comply with national labour laws and international labour standards, in particular those related to child labour and forced labour,” he said.

Through the policy TFFA members commit to the elimination of child labour in the industry. It aims to encourage responsible business practices and promote conditions of work that provide a safe and motivating working environment that is free of child labour, forced labour and discrimination. “TFFA believes that good workplaces are safe and healthy workplaces where workers can contribute to continuous improvements and where there is no child labour or abusive labour conditions in general,” says Mr Arthorn Piboonthanapathana, Secretary General of the TFFA. “Good labour practices in compliance with national laws and international standards is a must in today’s business environment for any serious company enterprises while contributing to the overall sustainability and economic viability of the industry”, he said.

Regional estimates of child labour, 2008 (5–17 age group,) ILO Global Report 2010


Total children


Children in employment

(‘000) %

Child labourers

(‘000) %

Children in hazardous work

(‘000) %









Asia & the Pacific








Latin America & Caribbean








Sub-Sahran Africa








Other regions








Trade unions have an important role to play in the efforts to eliminate child labour. The Labour Council of Thailand (LCT) reiterated that trade unions act at the workplace level advocating for the prevention of child labour and promoting safe work for youth. Stopping child labour and providing good working conditions for all is what the workers’ unions in Thailand stand for and work towards.

For more information please contact:

Emanuela Pozzan
Technical Officer, IPEC Thailand
ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok
Tel.: +662 (0) 2288 1724

Krisdaporn Singhaseni
Information Officer
ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok
Tel.: +662 (0) 2288 1664