Hazardous and exploitative child labour violates child rights as enshrined in the Convention on the
Rights of the Child. Immediate action to eliminate such labour must be guided by the best interests
of the child. Concern for the well-being of families whose survival may depend upon the earnings of
their children must include efforts to expand job opportunities for adults.
Since the causes of child labour are complex and include poverty, economic exploitation, social values and cultural circumstances, solutions must be comprehensive and must involve the widest possible range of partners in each society.
Some specific actions that are urgently needed are as follows:
1. Immediate elimination of hazardous and exploitative child labour
Hazardous and exploitative forms of child labour, including bonded labour, commercial sexual exploitation and work that hampers the child’s physical, social, cognitive, emotional or moral development, must not be tolerated, and governments must take immediate steps to end them.
2. Provision of free and compulsory education
Governments must fulfil their responsibility to make relevant primary education free and compulsory for all children (article 28 of the Convention) and ensure that all children attend primary school on a full-time basis until completion. Governments must budget the necessary resources for this purpose, with donors ensuring adequate resources from existing development aid budgets.
3. Wider legal protection
Laws on child labour and education should be consistent in purpose and implemented in a mutually supportive way. National child labour laws must accord with both the spirit and letter of the Convention and with relevant ILO conventions. Such legislation must encompass the vast majority of child work in the informal sector of the economy, including work on the streets and farms, domestic work or work within the child’s own household.
4. Birth registration of all children
All children should be registered at birth (article 7 of the Convention). Registration is essential to permit the exercise of the child’s rights, such as access to education, health care and other services, as well as to provide employers and labour inspectors with evidence of every child’s age.
5.Data collection and monitoring
Data on child labour are scarce. National and international systems must be put in place to gather and analyse globally comparable data on child labour, if the problem is to be addressed effectively. Special attention must be paid to the forgotten or ‘invisible’ areas of child labour, such as within the home, on the family farm or in domestic service. Monitoring by communities themselves is important, and working children should actively participate in assessing their situations and in proposing ways to improve their conditions.
6. Codes of conduct and procurement policies
National and international corporations are urged to adopt codes of conduct guaranteeing that neither they nor their subcontractors will employ children in conditions that violate their rights. Procurement policies must be developed to take into account the best interests of the child and include measures to protect those interests. UNICEF reaffirms its commitment to its own procurement policy, through which it undertakes not to buy from any supplier that exploits children.
|Previous | Main|