BackgroundChild labour is an impediment to children’s rights and a barrier to development. The international community has therefore committed to work together to eliminate child labour as reflected in the international standards to protect children from child labor. The ILO global child labour estimates for the year 2012 shows that despite important progress there are still 168 million children worldwide trapped in child labour, accounting for almost 11 per cent of the overall child population. Children in hazardous work that directly harms their health, safety or moral development make up more than half of all child labourers, numbering 85 million in absolute terms.
Every year ILO and international community commemorate the World Day Against Child Labour on 12 June 2016 as a way to promote awareness and action to tackle child labour. The focus of the 2016 World Day Against Child Labour is on child labour and supply chains. Supply chains are the sequence of activities/processes involved in the production and distribution of a product. With 168 million children still in child labour, all supply chains, from agriculture to manufacturing, services to construction, run the risk that child labour may be present. While most child labour occurs in production for domestic markets, children can also be found working in the production of goods and services for export. With globalization, supply chains have become increasingly complex, involving workers, small producers (like small workshops or homes) and enterprises around the world.
Eliminating child labor is everyone’s business and requires the commitment of governments, workers and employers organisations and enterprises themselves. The ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policies (the MNE Declaration) makes clear that all enterprieses have responsibilities to obey natioal law and to contribute to the realisation of all fundamental principles and rights at work – including the elimination of child labor as defined in ILO Convention no 138 on minimum age and no 182 on the urgent elimination of the worst form of child labor.
The ILO provides specific supports for business in tackling child labor. The ILO- and UN Global Compact-led Child Labour Platform (CLP) is one of those supports. It is a global forum connecting companies from different sectors and regions of the world to share experience of what works – and what doesn’t – in combating child labour in supply chains. Through public-private partnerships the ILO supports enterprises directly to address child labour in their supply chains and provides practical support and advice to address on-the ground realities. The ILO Helpdesk for Business provides free and confidential assistance on a wide range of labour issues – in particular for managers and workers’ organizations. This includes advice about applying in business operations and supply chains the principles contained in the ILO Conventions on child labour.
Objectives of the Commemoration
- Increase public awareness on child labor issues, particularly child labor in supply chains and iniatives in tackling the issue.
- Increase awareness of the private sectors on the issue of child labor in supply chains and roles of companies.