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A Future Without Child Labour : Global report under the follow-up to the ILO declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work

The report clarifies the boundaries of child Labour for abolition. The term “child labour” does not encompass all work performed by children under the age of 18. The report identifies three categories of child labour to be abolished: 1. Labour performed by a child who is under a minimum age specified in national legislation for that kind of work 2. Labour that jeopardizes the physical, mental or moral well-being of a child, which is known as hazardous work 3. Unconditional worst forms of child labour, which are internationally defined as slavery, trafficking, debt bondage and other forms of forced labour, forced recruitment for use in armed conflict, prostitution and pornography, and illicit activities Child labour is associated closely with the unregulated informal economy which is largely beyond the reach of formal institutions, including labour inspection services. Just as no country is immune from child labour, similarly none is protected from the effects of shocks to development, such as financial crises, natural disasters, armed conflicts, the HIV/AIDS pandemic as well as effects of economic and social transition. Although such crises are often in the public eye, their impact on children, and in particular on child labour, is still relatively poorly understood. The report shows how children’s lives are thrown into turmoil by such events and how, as a result, they often become more vulnerable to child labour. The report shows that poverty, while inextricably linked to child labour, offers neither a straightforward nor a complete explanation for it. The various dimensions of poverty interact with other factors, which act at all levels from the individual girl or boy to the national economy and even beyond, to determine whether and which children work, go to school, do both or do neither. Inadequate social protection coupled with under-resourced, poor quality education systems play a large part in perpetuating child labour. Policy inconsistencies, such as the existence of a gap between the school-leaving age and the minimum age for employment, exacerbate the situation in many countries. Improved understanding of the interlinked causes of child labour paves the way for the design of more effective strategies to combat it.


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