World Day Against Child Labor focuses on how to take action against children exploitation

Cover credit: ILO

Cover credit: ILO

The International Labor Organization (ILO) launched the first World Day Against Child Labor in 2002 to draw global attention to the issue and join efforts needed to eliminate it.

This year, June 12 brought together government, employers and workers organizations in order to highlight the plight of child laborers and explore what can be done to help them.

This year's theme was child labor and supply chains. "With 168 million children still in child labor, all supply chains, from agriculture to manufacturing, services to construction, run the risk that child labor may be present," according to the U.N.

A rise in the number of migrant children arriving alone in Europe has raised exploitation risks, according to Reuters. More than nine out of ten refugee and migrant children who arrived in Europe through Italy this year were traveling alone, according to the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

Poverty and economic shocks clearly play a key role in determining the market for child labor, which, in turn, contributes to the perpetuation of poverty, but this factor in itself is not a sufficient justification of child labor, and it certainly fails to explain some of its worst forms.

"A human rights perspective is necessary for a fuller understanding of child labor, as it focuses on discrimination and exclusion as contributing factors," according to the U.N.

Credit: UN

Credit: UN

"The most vulnerable groups when it comes to child labor are often those subject to discrimination and exclusion, such as girls, ethnic minorities, those of low class or caste, people with disabilities, displaced persons and those living in remote areas."

To support businesses in their actions to remove child labor from their supply chains, the ILO and the International Organization of Employers (IOE) have jointly created the Child Labor Guidance Tool, a resource for companies to increase their knowledge and ability to conduct business in line with international labor standards on child labor.

The video below, published June 6 on the Human Rights Watch YouTube channel, documented hazardous child labor in agriculture, mining, and the leather and apparel industries, featuring a short interview with a 16-year-old girl talking about her work.