Child labour

Campaign to combat child labour launches at the opening of 2014 Football World Cup

The ILO’s Red Card to Child Labour campaign sends out a message that children have a right to play, not work. Viet Nam’s national football team striker Le Cong Vinh will hold up the Red Card.

Press release | 11 June 2014
HANOI (ILO News) – As billions of people prepare for the opening of the 2014 FIFA Football World Cup in Brazil on 12 June, the International Labour Organization (ILO) – the UN’s agency for the world of work, will launch its 2014 Red Card to Child Labour Campaign.

With 168 million children in child labour worldwide, the ILO will use the iconic red card symbol to signal that child labour is something that is unacceptable.

Together with international footballers and celebrities, Viet Nam national football team striker Le Cong Vinh will hold up the Red Card and join the campaign against child labour.

Child labour and the role of social protection

About half of all children in child labour globally are simply too young to be working at all. Most children in child labour perform unpaid work on family farms. And 85 million children aged 5-17 years are doing work on farms or in mines and sweatshops that puts their health and safety, sometimes even their lives, in danger. Millions of child labourers are in domestic work. Others are victims of commercial sexual exploitation, or are exploited in the drugs trade or begging on the streets. Some 5.5 million children are in modern-day slavery, including victims of human trafficking and children forced to become soldiers in government armies or private militias.

In Viet Nam, an estimated 9.6 per cent of children aged 5-17, or 1.75 million Vietnamese children, are child labourers. The main findings from the first National Child Labour Survey launched in March showed that two in every five child workers are under 15 of age.

Most child labourers live in the countryside, work in agriculture and are unpaid family workers.

About one-third of the child workers, or nearly 569,000 children, have to work an average of more than 42 hours per week, which affects their schooling.

“Child labour deprives children of their childhood, potential and dignity, and is harmful to physical and mental development,” the Vietnamese famous footballer Cong Vinh said.

The rate of child labour in Viet Nam is lower than the world’s average and very close to the regional figure. However, with 1.75 million child workers, the country still has a long way ahead in the fight against child labour.

“This is a process which takes time,” said ILO Viet Nam Country Director, Gyorgy Sziraczki. “Awareness raising plays a key role in fighting child labour. Policy-makers, employers and families should understand that all children should go to school. Children are the greatest assets of families, communities and the society as a whole. How we treat them will shape our future.”

Children are the greatest assets of families, communities and the society as a whole."
Gyorgy Sziraczki
The 2014 World Day Against Child Labour, which coincides with the opening of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil (12 June), draws the attention to the role of social protection in keeping children out of child labour and removing them from it.

Poverty and shocks play a key role in driving children to work. Poor households are more likely to have to resort to child labour to meet basic needs. Exposure to shocks, such as an adult member of the family becoming unemployed or suffering from serious illness or work-related injury, can result in loss of family income and cause children to drop out of school and go to work.

Therefore, social protection that ensures access to health care and income security, particularly in cases of old age, unemployment, sickness, invalidity, work injury, maternity or loss of a main income earner, is significant in combating child labour.

“There is no single solution to address child labour,” said the ILO Viet Nam Director. “It’s a combination of instruments that complement one another, in which a well-designed social security system is an important part.”

Global launch

A new song, written by Grammy-nominated musician Mike Einziger and internationally acclaimed violinist, Ann Marie Simpson, will be released on 12 June.

It features several award-wining artists committed to the cause including Travis Barker, drummer from Blink-182; Minh Dang, activist and survivor of human trafficking; Dominic Lewis, composer; LIZ, R&B pop-artist; Pharrell Williams, Grammy award-winning singer/producer; and Hans Zimmer, Oscar award-winning film composer.

“We hope this song will inspire people to join the global movement against child labour and take action to make a difference in the lives of child labourers,” said Marcia Poole, the ILO’s Director of Communications.

In New York, the giant screens on Times Square will display the campaign’s messages throughout the day, inviting passers-by to join the fight against child labour.

 Cong Vinh’s Red Card message

“As the 2014 World Cup commences in Brazil, the “RED CARD to Child Labour” campaign also kicks off. It is a global one initiated by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Cong Vinh is proud to be part of this campaign, which aims to help 168 million children in child labour around the world.

Child labour deprives children of their childhood, potential and dignity, and is harmful to their physical and mental development.

Millions of child workers have been helped over the past years but many remain in need of support.

Together with Cong Vinh, please hold up the RED CARD and say NO to child labour!”