Since 2002, every June 12 is World Day Against Child Labor. The international community also adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, with a renewed commitment to end this serious global problem. But while the number of children in child labor has fallen by 94 million since 2000, the rate of reduction has slowed by two-thirds in recent years. Currently, one in 10 children are engaged in these practices. There are 152 million —64 million girls and 88 million boys — in child labor.
Child labor, prohibited under international law, comprises three categories. One points to the worst forms: slavery, human trafficking, debt bondage, forced recruitment of boys and girls for armed conflict, prostitution, pornography, and other illicit activities. Another with work done by boys or girls who do not reach the minimum age specified according to national legislation, in accordance with internationally accepted standards, which prevents the education and full development of the child. And the third is made up of situations in which a job endangers the physical, mental or moral well-being of the child, either by its own nature or by the conditions in which it is carried out, called hazardous work.
This June 12 is special, since the UN declared 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor, under the leadership of the ILO. This UN labor policy agency is organizing a high-level virtual roundtable to date on the importance of protecting children from child labor in COVID-19 response and recovery programs and within the framework of target 8.7 of the SDGs, which calls for “immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end contemporary forms of slavery and human trafficking, and ensure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers, and, by 2025, end child labor in all its forms”.