Child labour and poverty are inevitably bound together and if you continue to use the labour of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty, you will have both poverty and child labour to the end of time.Grace Abbott
There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children.Nelson Mandela
Since its inception, the ILO has sought to protect young people from work that deprives them of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that harms their physical and mental development. At the first International Labour Conference in 1919, the ILO already set limits for the minimum age for employment in industry. This was followed by a series of minimum age Conventions over the next decades. In 1999, the ILO's adoption of the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention No. 182 consolidated the global consensus on urgent action for the elimination of child labour.
Millions of child labourers have benefited from these Conventions, but much remains to be done. More than half of the world’s child labourers – approximately 74 million boys and 41 million girls – are involved in the worst forms of child labour: all forms of slavery, including the sale and trafficking of children or their forcible recruitment for use in armed conflict; the use of children for prostitution, pornography or any illicit activities, such as the production and trafficking of drugs; and any work which is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.
ILO’s member states have set the target for eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016.
Convention No. 182 entered into force on 19 November 2000. It has been the most rapidly ratified Convention in the history of the ILO, with ratifications by 177 countries to date. Together with the Minimum Age Convention No. 138, it is one of the core Conventions of the ILO.
World Day Against Child Labour, 12 June
The ILO launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002. Each year on 12 June the World Day brings together governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, civil society, and millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them.
The International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) − the largest programme of its kind globally and the biggest single operational programme of the ILO − has decided to focus this year’s World Day Against Child Labour on domestic work. The theme for 2013 is No to child labour in domestic work! It relates to the large number of children engaged in paid or unpaid work in the home of a third party or an employer. Many of these children are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, their work is often hidden from the public eye, they may be isolated, and may be working far away from their family home. To show your support, you can join one of the World Day Against Child Labour activities organized in 55 Member States around the world.
Related ILO conventions
- C05 Minimum Age (Industry) Convention, 1919 (featured as one of the oldest)
- C07 Minimum Age (Sea) Convention, 1920 (Subject: Seafarers)
- C10 Minimum Age (Agriculture) Convention, 1921
- C29 Forced Labour Convention, 1930
- C33 Minimum Age (Non-Industrial Employment) Convention, 1932
- C58 Minimum Age (Sea) Convention (Revised), 1936 (Subject: Seafarers)
- C59 Minimum Age (Industry) Convention (Revised), 1937
- C112 Minimum Age (Fishermen) Convention, 1959 1936 (Subject: Fishermen)
- C123 Minimum Age (Underground Work) Convention, 1965
- C138 Minimum Age Convention, 1973
- C182 Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999