Reactions to World Day Against Child Labour around the globe

A brief selection of what different personalities from around the world said on the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour.

Statement | Worldwide | 12 June 2013

They said it

Pope Francis

"Today the World Day Against Child Labour is being celebrated all over the world, with a reference in particular to the Exploitation of Children in domestic work: Listen, it is a deplorable phenomenon which is constantly increasing, especially in poor countries. There are millions of children, mostly girls, who are victims of this hidden form of exploitation that often involves abuse, mistreatment and discrimination. This is a real form of slavery.
It is my heartfelt hope that the international community will initiate still more effective measures in addressing this authentic plague.
All children must be able to play, study, pray and grow, in their families, this in a harmonic context, in love and serenity but these people instead of playing are slaves, and this is a plague. This is their right and our duty. A serene childhood allows children to look with confidence towards life and tomorrow. Woe to those who stifle them in their joyful enthusiasm of hope!"

John Kerry, US Secretary of State

"We are proud to stand united with our partners in the international community on this World Day Against Child Labor, and with one voice, we call for the elimination of child labor. The International Labor Organization’s latest estimates suggest that over 215 million boys and girls throughout the world are involved in child labor. This year, World Day Against Child Labor calls attention to child labor in domestic work."

Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais

"Children trapped in domestic work are often exposed to violence, including sexual abuse,(...) there cannot be a world without violence against children, if we do not successfully address this hidden and pernicious form of child labour".

Ministre togolais du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Sécurité sociale Yacoubou Hamadou

"Personne ne doit plus se rendre complice du fait de séparer les enfants de leurs familles et de les mettre en situation d'esclavage au sein de ménages tiers."

Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister and UN Special Envoy for Global Education

"57 million boys and girls around the world are denied daily their chance to be at school, 15.5 million of whom are domestic child workers. June 12th is an important day in the fight against child labour."


“We understand that many children work to support their families. However when children are forced into the most dangerous forms of labour, when they then miss school, when they are at risk and their health and well-being are impaired, this is unacceptable. Actions must be taken to address this situation, including preventing it from happening in the first place”.

Carlos Tomada, Argentina Labour Minister

“Estamos frente a un desafío muy importante, ya que estamos en condiciones de profundizar las acciones de prevención. Pero al mismo tiempo tenemos otro gran desafío que es la detección del trabajo infantil, porque la Argentina se merece no tener índices importantes de trabajo infantil. Por eso la batalla final por la erradicación definitiva la vamos a dar todos juntos”.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary

"The two ILO Conventions on child labour have been ratified by the vast majority of governments, but tens of millions of children are experiencing the exploitation and misery of child labour when they should be getting a decent education. The economic crisis, and the obsession with austerity, are severely hampering efforts to get the children out of work and into school."

Ministre béninois du Travail et de la Fonction publique, Maïmouna Kora Zaki

"A l'occasion de cette célébration, je me permets d'attirer l'attention des acteurs sur l'importance du rôle que chacun doit jouer pour sauver ces âmes innocentes de l'abîme qui se dresse devant elles. En effet, nombreux sont les enfants béninois qui sont exploités au détriment du respect de leurs droits à une bonne santé, à l'éducation, à la formation et au développement harmonieux."

Ministry of Labour and Public Service of Rwanda

"In addition to the measures in place to fight child labour and rights abuse, we will maintain the fight to ensure all children under 16 years are not engaged in economic activities, which apart from being illegal, is also against their will."

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, Jamaica

“Our determination in this goal is unshakable and we will remain engaged with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the European Union, and other international and local partners in this endeavour... In addition to the measures in place to fight child labour and rights abuse, we will maintain the fight to ensure all children under 16 years are not engaged in economic activities, which apart from being illegal, is also against their will... Our country programmes, among other things, seek to strengthen the capacity of national and local authorities, social partners and civil society in the formulation, implementation and enforcement of policies to fight the scourge of child labour...”

Ministry of Labour, Trinidad and Tobago

"While it is expected that children should do chores and take responsibility for helping in the home we must also remember that these children are our future and they must be nurtured and protected to ensure that they grow into responsible adults and contributing citizens of the country. To this end, it is important to ensure that children of school age do attend school, that adequate support is given to families to ensure that children do not have to assume the mantle of adulthood before they legally become an adult and that they are allowed to have a well-rounded childhood to ensure that they become well-rounded and responsible adults."

Jo Becker, Advocacy director for the children's rights division, Human Rights Watch

“To eliminate child labor, governments cannot ignore the children working in private homes…Many of these children are paid a pittance, if at all, and often suffer abuse and overwork. Governments can help these children by ratifying the Domestic Workers Convention. The Domestic Workers Convention protects adults and children alike...Governments that ratify the convention will be introducing essential safeguards that can improve the lives of millions of child domestic workers.”

The Minister at the Presidency in charge of Social and Allied Institutions, Mrs. Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah, Ghana

“We must all as a country endeavor to lash out this evil phenomenon in our beloved country by creating the enabling environment for the development of the human resource base of the country.“

They tweeted it

  • UNICEF: Today is World Day Against Child Labour. Around 150m children 5-14 are involved in child labour  #notochildlabour
  • UNICEF Argentina: Darle trabajo a un niño es robarle su niñez. #NoAlTrabajoInfantil. Conocé la campaña de #OIT
  • Rafael Pardo, Colombian Labour Minister: No permitamos que nuestros niños y niñas dejen de estudiar y crecer como debe ser #NoalTrabajoInfantil
  • Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto: Para proteger a nuestros menores, ayer presenté una iniciativa de reforma constitucional que eleva a 15 años la edad mínima para trabajar
  • Euro Parlement: Aujourd'hui c'est la Journée mondiale contre le travail des enfants. La base juridique de notre combat