12 June is a red letter day on the UN agenda of events as the World Day Against Child Labor. It marks the 12 June arrival in 1998 of hundreds of children in Geneva, part of the Global March against Child Labour that had crossed a 100 countries to present their plight to the International Labor Organization (ILO).
“We are hurting, and you can help us” was their message to the assembled International Labor Conference which meets each year in Geneva in June. One year later, in June, the ILO had drafted ILO Convention N° 182 on child labor which 165 States have now ratified — the fastest ratification rate in the ILO’s history.
ILO Convention N°182 sets out in article 3 the worst forms of child labor to be banned:
a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labor, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict;
b) the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances;
c) the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties;
d) work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.