The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. Each year on 12 June, the World Day brings together governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society, as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them.
“In conflicts and disasters, protect children from child labour”
Globally over 1.5 billion people live in countries that are affected by conflict, violence and fragility. At the same time, around 200 million people are affected by disasters every year. A third of them are children. A significant proportion of the 168 million children engaged in child labour live in areas affected by conflict and disaster. The 2017 World Day Against Child Labour focuses on the impact of conflicts and disasters on child labour.
Conflicts and disasters have a devastating impact on people’s lives. They kill, maim, injure, force people to flee their homes, destroy livelihoods, push people into poverty and starvation and trap people in situations where their basic human rights are violated. Children are often the first to suffer as schools are destroyed and basic services are disrupted. Many children are internally displaced or become refugees in other countries, and are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and child labour. Ultimately, millions of children are pushed into child labour by conflicts and disasters.
Urgent action is needed to tackle child labour in areas affected by conflict and disaster. If the SDG Target 8.7 which aims to “eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour” is to be achieved by 2030, we need to intensify and accelerate action to end child labour, including in areas affected by conflict and disasters. And we need to do it together.