World Day Against Child Labour

To bring social justice to all we must end child labour

On World Day Against Child Labour, 12 June 2023, the ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo calls on the international community to support greater social justice and step up the fight against child labour.

Date issued: 12 June 2023 | Size/duration: 1:57

This year, World Day against Child Labour takes the theme, Social Justice for All. End Child Labour!.

Yet what is happening with child labour is the very opposite of social justice.

For the first time in 20 years, child labour is on the rise.

160 million children, almost one-in-10 worldwide, are in child labour.

What’s worse, half – 80 million – are in the most hazardous forms of child labour; that’s work with a real threat to their physical and mental health.

But child labour rarely happens because parents are bad, or do not care. Rather, it springs from a lack of social justice.

The antidote to poverty-driven child labour is decent work for adults, so they can support their families and send their children to school, not to work.

Decent work means ending forced labour, creating safe and healthy workplaces, and letting workers organize and voice their needs.

It means ending discrimination – because child labour often affects marginalized groups.

We must step up our fight against child labour, by supporting greater social justice. If we do this, an end to child labour is not just possible. It is within reach.