Marking World Day against Child Labour

June 12th was World Day against Child Labour, a day to raise awareness of and call action for the 168 million children trapped in child labour globally. This year’s theme focused on the right to an education as a key step in tackling child labour.

On our A World At School blog, we wrote a guide for children to read and share about child labour and how the fight for education has an important part to play in it.

The Global Business Coalition for Education blog discusses how businesses are working to end child labour. It offers a discussion of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles generated by UNICEF, the UN Global Compact, and Save the Children, and how these can guide companies’ actions to reinforce  the rights of their most often overlooked stakeholders: children.

Companies that pay fair wages, respect human rights, and support educational opportunity prevent child labor and over the long-term can strengthen communities and economies…This World Day Against Child Labor should stand as a reminder that child labor will not resolve itself, it will require the vigilance and commitment of everyone.


Over on the Huffington Post, A World At School and Global Business Coalition for Education’s policy, advocacy, and research director Kolleen Bouchane writes about the heartbreaking problem of child labour and its relation to structural poverty, disaster, and conflict, and urges support for the Global Humanitarian Fund for Education in Emergencies .

Child labor is often one of a range of terrible options open to the very poor in order to ensure basic survival. It’s a kind of survival that is difficult to imagine, one amid brutal poverty that is a grinding, multigenerational trap where many children don’t even survive to see their fifth birthday. Other options — starvation, for example — are so bad that the risk of sending a child even into hazardous work seems or actually is better than alternatives.


Child labour is a difficult and complex subject. You can learn more about it from the sources below. You can also find out more about child labour and education in emergencies here.

Sources: A World at School – Child Labour and Education in Conflict and Emergencies; International Labor OrganizationUNICEFThe Child Labor CoalitionHuman Rights WatchWorld Health Organization.