Observed on June 12th, World Day Against Child Labor is intended to serve as a catalyst for the growing worldwide movement against child labor. Emphasizing the link between social justice and child labor, the slogan for World Day in 2023 is ‘Social Justice for All. End Child Labor!’.
Throughout the world, around 218 million children work, many full-time. They do not go to school and have little or no time to play. Many do not receive proper nutrition or care. They are denied the chance to be children. More than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labor such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labor, illicit activities including drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.
“On World Day Against Child Labor, we highlight the importance of partnership in combatting child labor. The recent G7 Summit in Hiroshima saw the United States and other leaders reaffirm their commitment to eradicating forced and compulsory labor, as well as child labor. They discussed measures such as legislation, regulations, and incentives to promote decent work and protect rights,” said Matthew Miller,
Department of Labor Spokesperson.
Despite the ratification of the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention 182 by all International Labour Organization (ILO) members two decades ago, child labor remains a global issue. Approximately 80 million children, some as young as 5 years old, were involved in hazardous work in 2021, according to the ILO. The United States welcomes increased international cooperation as it is crucial in our collective efforts to combat child labor, as no single government can address this issue alone. As the United States underscored at the G7 Summit, unity of purpose is vital in addressing the world’s most significant challenges.
The Department of State’s Special Representative of International Labor Affairs collaborates with other U.S. government offices and international partners to effectively eliminate the worst forms of child labor.
The World Day Against Child Labour was first established in the year 2002 by the International Labor Organization (ILO) to draw constant attention to the issue of child labor and to revise and revisit our strategies to eliminate child labor. It has been 19 years since 2002, and the World Day Against Child Labour is observed on 12 June every year. The United Nations General Assembly while acknowledging the magnitude of child labor, unanimously adopted a resolution declaring 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour and has asked the ILO to take the lead in its implementation. This day brings together governments, local authorities, civil society, and international, workers and employers organizations to point out the child labor problem and define the guidelines to help child laborers.
According to ILO’s data, hundreds of millions of girls and boys worldwide are involved in work that deprives them of receiving adequate education, health, leisure, and basic freedoms, violating this way their rights. Of these children, more than half are exposed to the worst forms of child labor. These worst forms of child labor include work in hazardous environments, slavery, other forms of forced labor, illicit activities such as drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.