Hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are engaged in work that deprives them of adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating their rights. Of these children, more than half are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as 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 International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the first World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 as a way to highlight the plight of these children. The day, which is observed on June 12th, is intended to serve as a catalyst for the growing worldwide movement against child labour, reflected in the huge number of ratifications of ILO Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labour and ILO Convention No. 138 on the minimum age for employment.
The World Day Against Child Labour provides and opportunity to gain further support of individual governments and that of the ILO social partners, civil society and others, including schools, youth and women's groups as well as the media, in the campaign against child labour.