Children have the right to attend school, to play, to grow up in protected environments, and to enjoy their childhood.

However, according to global estimates made by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2016, 151 million children are in child labour, i. e. they are engaged in adult labour or activities. More than half of these children (73 million) are engaged in hazardous work.

The term "child labour" is often defined as any work carried out by children or adolescents, i.e. all persons below the age of 18 years, , which deprives them from their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to their health, safety and physical and mental development with serious consequences during all stages of life or that, with regard to those below the minimum age of admission to employment, deprives them of their schooling by depriving children of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely, or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.

In its most extreme forms, child labour involves children and adolescents are trapped in slavery like situations, such as debt bondage, trafficking and the participation in armed conflict, among other, or being sexually exploited for commercial purposes or involved in illicit activities, being separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses, and/or left to fend for themselves (often at a very early age).

In this context, Target 8.7 of the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calls on the world to: “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”.

Eradicating child labour in the near future is possible. It requires governments, employers, workers and other key stakeholders to engage in joint actions that will accelerate the time against this issue and guarantee all children a future with quality education, leisure, care and protection.

 

[i] http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---ipec/documents/publication/wcms_221513.pdf