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Glossary of Terms

Basic Education

Basic education comprises both formal schooling (primary and sometimes lower secondary) as well as a wide variety of non-formal and informal public and private educational activities offered to meet the defined basic learning needs of groups of people of all ages.

Source: UNESCO, Education for All: Year 2000 Assessment: Glossary [CD-ROM], Paris, 2001.

Bonded Labor

Bonded labor or debt bondage is “the status or condition arising from a pledge by a debtor of his personal services or those of a person under his control as security for a debt,” as defined in the UN Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery (1956).

Bonded labor typically occurs when a person needing a loan and having no security to offer, pledges his/her labor, or that of someone under his/her control, as a security for a loan.  In some cases, the interest on the loan may be so high that it cannot be paid.  In others, it may be deemed that the bonded individual’s work repays the interest on the loan but not the principal.  Thus, the loan is inherited and perpetuated, and becomes an inter-generational debt. 

Bonded labor is identified as one of the worst forms of child labor in ILO Convention 182.

Source:  United Nations, Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery, (September 7, 1956); available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/comp/child/standards/supcons.htm.  See also U.S. Department of Labor, By the Sweat and Toil of Children, Vol. I: The Use of Child Labor in U.S. Manufactured and Mined Imports (Washington, D.C.: USDOL, 1994), 18.  See also ILO-IPEC. Child Labour: A Textbook for University Students, Appendix 2: Glossary, 287. (Geneva: International Labour Office, 2004).  See also ILO Convention No. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor, (June 17, 1999); available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/convdisp2.htm. 

Child Labor

For the purpose of this report, the term “child labor” refers to “exploitive child labor”.  See definition of “Exploitive Child Labor” below.

Child Labor Education Initiative

From FY 2001 to FY 2004, the U.S. Congress appropriated U.S. $148 million to USDOL for a Child Labor Education Initiative to fund programs aimed at increasing access to quality, basic education in areas with a high incidence of abusive and exploitive child labor. USDOL's Child Labor Education Initiative seeks to nurture the development, health, safety and enhanced future employability of children around the world by providing education opportunities for working children and those at risk of entering work.  Elimination of exploitive child labor depends in part on improving access to, quality of, and relevance of education. The Child Labor Education Initiative has four goals:

  • Raise awareness of the importance of education for all children and mobilize a wide array of actors to improve and expand education infrastructures;
  • Strengthen formal and transitional education systems that encourage working children and those at risk of working to attend school;
  • Strengthen national institutions and policies on education and child labor; and
  • Ensure the long-term sustainability of these efforts.

Source:  U.S. Department of Labor, Child Labor Education Initiative (EI), [online]; available from: http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/iclp/education/main.htm.

Commercial Farms

Commercial farms are large-scale agricultural holdings that produce for largely commercial purposes.  For the purposes of this report, the term commercial farms encompasses both farms and plantations, which are defined as agricultural holdings that produce commodities exclusively for export.  Commercial farms generally pay workers by either the weight or the quantity of the product collected.  To ensure that this minimal amount is met, or to maximize earnings, children may work alongside their parents, as part of a family unit.  Children may also be hired as full-time wage-laborers, although they usually perform the same work as adult workers, but are paid one-half to one-third what is paid to adults doing comparable work.  Workdays are extremely long, and safety and health risks include exposure to dangerous chemical fertilizers or pesticides, poisonous insects or reptiles, and unsafe hygienic conditions and drinking water.

ILO Convention 138 prohibits the use of child labor on “plantation and other agricultural undertakings mainly producing for commercial purposes, but excluding family and small-scale holdings producing for local consumption and not regularly employing hired workers.”  The line between “commercial” agriculture and “production for local consumption” is frequently blurred, and sometimes requires judgment calls.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, By the Sweat and Toil of Children, Vol. II: The Use of Child Labor in U.S. Agricultural Imports and Forced and Bonded Child Labor (Washington, D.C.: USDOL, 1995), 2-4, 10.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity; the exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices; or the exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials. 

The exact nature of the exploitation differs from one country to another.  CSEC includes so-called “sex tourism” in which adults procure the services of children for prostitution or pornography; the exploitation of children by pimps or other criminal elements who offer “protection” to children (often children living on the streets) in return for their work in the sex trade; trafficking of children across borders to fuel prostitution or pedophilia rings; or the use of domestic servants, refugee children, or child soldiers for sexual purposes.

ILO Convention 182 prohibits the sale and trafficking of children, and the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography, or for pornographic performances.

Source: U.S. Embassy-Stockholm, CSEC Overview, pursuant to the World Congress against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, August 27-31, 1996; available from http://www.usemb.se/children/csec/overview.html.  See also UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 34, available from http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm.  See also ILO Convention No. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor (June 17, 1999); available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/ratification/convention/text.htm.

Compulsory Education

Compulsory education refers to the number of years or the age-span during which children and youth are legally obliged to attend school.

Source: UNESCO, Education for All: Year 2000 Assessment: Glossary [CD-ROM], Paris, 2001. 

Conditional Worst Forms of Child Labor

Conditional worst forms refer to activities that can only be determined to be “worst forms” by relevant national authorities.  Article 3 section (d) of ILO Convention 182 provides a general description of these potentially hazardous forms of labor, and Article 4 makes clear that such work should be defined by national laws.  Some of these hazardous forms could constitute acceptable forms of work, if certain conditions were changed.  Examples include work with dangerous tools or chemicals, or work for long hours or at night.

Source: International Labour Organization, Child Labour:  A Textbook for University Students (Geneva: International Labour Organization, 2004), 46-48; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/publ/download/pol_textbook_2004.pdf.

Domestic Servants

Domestic servants, also referred to as domestic workers or child domestics, are children who work in other people’s households doing domestic chores, caring for children, and running errands, among other tasks.  Child domestics sometimes have live-in arrangements, whereby they live in their employer’s household and work full-time in exchange for room, board, care, and sometimes remuneration. 

Source: UNICEF, “Child Domestic Work,” Innocenti Digest 5 (1999), 2.

Education for All

In 1990, delegates from more than 155 countries convened in Jomtien, Thailand, to create strategies for addressing the issues of education, literacy, and poverty reduction.  Using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a basis for their work, participants established a set of goals to provide all children, especially girls, with the basic human right to an education and to improve adult literacy around the world.  The result was “The World Declaration on Education for All (EFA)”.  This declaration called for countries, by the end of the decade, to meet the basic learning needs of all children and adults; provide universal access to education for all; create equity in education for women and other underserved groups; focus on actual learning acquisition; broaden the types of educational opportunities available to people; and create better learning environments for students.  To achieve these goals, participating countries were requested to create Action Plans that detail how they were going to meet the goals of the Jomtien declaration.  By 2000, basic education in more than 180 countries had been evaluated as part of the EFA 2000 Assessment.

In April 2000, delegates gathered again for the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal, where the results of the assessment were released.  After reviewing the data gathered, it was clear that much more progress would be needed to achieve EFA. These delegates, from 164 countries, adopted the Dakar Framework for Action and renewed and strengthened their commitment to the achievement of quality basic education for all by the year 2015.  The World Education Forum adopted six major goals for education to be achieved within 15 years, including: the attainment of Universal Primary Education and gender equality; improving literacy and educational quality; and increasing life-skills and early childhood education programs.  However, the gender goal was deemed to be particularly urgent, thus requiring the achievement of parity in enrollment for girls and boys at primary and secondary levels by 2005, and of full equality throughout education by 2015.

Source: UNESCO, The World Conference on Education for All, Jomtien, Thailand (March 5-9, 1990), [conference proceedings]; available from http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/ed_for_all/background/world_conference_jomtien.shtml.  See also UNESCO, World Education Forum, Dakar, Senegal (April 2000), [conference proceedings]; available from http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/wef_2000/index.shtml.  See also UNESCO, Education for All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments, Text adopted by the World Education Forum Dakar, Senegal, April 26-28, 2000, available fromhttp://www.unesco.org/education/efa/ed_for_all/dakfram_eng.shtml

Exploitive Child Labor

There is no universally accepted definition of the term “exploitive child labor.”  ILO Convention 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor, provides a widely accepted definition of the worst forms of child labor.  Under Article 3 of the convention, the worst forms of child labor comprise:

(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 labour, 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 purposes;

(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.

Convention 182 states that a child is any person under the age of 18.

In addition, ILO Convention 138, Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, provides guidelines for the minimum age of employment as well as for work that is acceptable for children below the minimum age.  Under Article 2(3), the minimum age of admission to employment should not be less than the age of completion of compulsory schooling or less than 14 or 15 years, depending on the economy and educational facilities of the country in question.  Article 7(1) of the convention states that national laws may permit the employment of persons 12 to 14 or 13 to 15 years (depending on the country in question) in light work that is not likely to harm their health or development, and not prejudice their attendance at school, participation in training programs, or capacity to benefit from instruction received.  (See definition of “light work.”)  For the purpose of this report, “exploitive child labor” is defined as that work described in ILO Convention 182, Article 3, sections (a) through (d) when performed by a person under 18 years, and work that prevents persons under 15 years of age from attending and participating effectively in school.

Source:  ILO Convention No. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor (1999); available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/ratification/convention/text.htm.  See also ILO Convention No. 138, Minimum Age for Admission to Employment (1973); available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/convdisp2.htm. 

Fast-Track Initiative

The Fast-Track Initiative (FTI) was initiated by the World Bank in 2002 to assist a limited number of countries having sound education policies, but lacking the resources needed to achieve Universal Primary Education by 2015 (the timeline established under the Education For All protocol).  The goal of the FTI is to accelerate progress towards the achievement of Universal Primary Education through a combination of stronger national policies, improved capacity, and incremental financial assistance.  The countries eligible for assistance were required to have in place a clear national education strategy that had been incorporated into the country's broader development strategy, and generally approved by the World Bank and other donors.  After wide-ranging discussions with developing countries, donors, and civil society, it was determined that 18 countries met this criteria: Albania, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Yemen and Zambia.  Five other countries with the largest numbers of children out of school were also identified:  Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. 

Source: World Bank, An Overview of the Fast-Track Initiative, Washington, D.C., 2002; available from http://www1.worldbank.org/education/pdf/efafti_overview.pdf

Forced Labor

Forced labor is defined in ILO Convention No. 29 as “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.”  In practice, it is the enslavement of workers through the threat or use of coercion, and it is primarily found among the most economically vulnerable members of society.

Forced and compulsory labor is identified as one of the worst forms of child labor in ILO Convention 182.

Source: ILO Convention No. 29, Forced Labour (1930);available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/dialogue/actrav/enviro/backgrnd/ilohrcon.htm.  See also ILO Convention No. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labour (1999); available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/ratification/convention/text.htm.

Formal Education

The system of formalized transmission of knowledge and values operating within a given society, usually provided through state-sponsored schools.

Source:  ILO-IPEC.  Child Labour: A Textbook for University Students, Appendix 2: Glossary, 288. (Geneva: International Labour Office, 2004).

Gross Primary Attendance Ratio

The gross primary attendance ratio is the total number of students attending primary school (regardless of age) expressed as a percentage of the official primary school-age population.  It indicates the general level of participation in primary schooling by people of any age, and in comparison with the net primary attendance ratio, indicates the extent of over- and under-age participation in primary schooling.  In countries with high primary school attendance rates, if there are significant numbers of overage (or underage) students in primary school, the gross primary attendance ratio can exceed 100.

Source:USAID, “UNESCO Indicator Definitions for GED Online,” [online], [cited November 5, 2003]; available from http://qesdb.cdie.org/ged/un_def.html.

Gross Primary Enrollment Ratio

The gross primary enrollment ratio is the enrollment of primary students, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the primary school-age population.  Therefore, it is possible for gross primary enrollment rates to exceed 100.  The gross primary enrollment ratio describes the capacity of a school system in relation to the size of the official school-age population.  For example, a ratio of 100 percent indicates that the number of children actually enrolled, including those outside the official age range, is equivalent to the size of the official primary school-age population.  It does not mean that all children of official primary school age are actually enrolled.  If the ratio were so misinterpreted, it would overstate the actual enrollment picture in those countries in which a sizable proportion of students are younger or older than the official age owing to early or delayed entry or to repetition.  In many countries, the official primary school-age group is 6-11 years.  The differences in national systems of education and duration of schooling should be considered when comparing the ratios.

Source:USAID, “UNESCO Indicator Definitions for GED Online,” [online], [cited November 5, 2003]; available from http://qesdb.cdie.org/ged/un_def.html.

ILO Convention 138: Minimum Age for Admission to Employment

ILO Convention 138, adopted in 1973 and ratified by 135 nations, serves as the principal ILO standard on child labor.  Under Article 2(3) of ILO Convention 138, Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, the minimum age of admission into employment or work in any occupation “shall not be less than the age of completion of compulsory schooling, and, in any case, shall not be less than fifteen.”  Countries whose economy and educational facilities are insufficiently developed may initially specify a minimum legal working age of 14 when ratifying the convention.  Additionally, under article 7(1), “National laws or regulations may permit the employment or work of persons 13 to 15 years of age on light work which is – (a) not likely to be harmful to their health or development; and (b) not such as to prejudice their attendance at school, their participation in vocational orientation or training programmes approved by the competent authority or their capacity to benefit from the instruction received.” 

Source:  ILO Convention No. 138, Minimum Age for Admission to Employment (1973); available from. http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/convdisp2.htm.  Ratifications are current as of December 2004. 

ILO Convention 182: Worst Forms of Child Labor

ILO Convention 182 was adopted in 1999 and has been ratified by 150 nations.  It commits ratifying nations to take immediate action to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor.  Under Article 3 of the convention, the worst forms of child labor comprise:

(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 labour, 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 purposes;

(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.

(See definitions of “Unconditional Worst Forms” and “Conditional Worst Forms” in this glossary for further information on the above categories.)  Among other actions, ILO Convention 182 requires ratifying nations to: remove children from abusive child labor and provide them with rehabilitation, social reintegration, access to free basic education and vocational training; consult with employer and worker organizations to create appropriate mechanisms to monitor implementation of the Convention; take into account the special vulnerability of girls; and provide assistance and/or cooperate with efforts of other members to implement the Convention.

Source: ILO Convention No. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labour (1999); available from   http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/convdisp2.htm.  Ratifications are current as of December 2004. 

ILO-IPEC Associated Members

Associated members of ILO-IPEC (the International Labor Organization’s International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor) are countries in which ILO-IPEC has initiated child labor projects with the permission of the country’s government, but which have not yet signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding (see also definitions for “ILO-IPEC Program Countries” and “IPEC”).  As of October 2004, there were 31 associated members of ILO-IPEC.

Source:  ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labour:  Highlights 2004, Geneva, October 2004, 16.

ILO-IPEC Members/Program Countries

ILO-IPEC members or program countries are countries that have signed a MOU with IPEC, thereby committing to cooperate with ILO-IPEC on the implementation of child labor projects in their countries.  As of October 2004, there were 57 ILO-IPEC program countries.

Source:  ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labour:  Highlights 2004, Geneva, October 2004, 16.

Informal Sector

The informal sector refers to areas of economic activity that are largely unregulated and not subject to labor legislation.  A more precise description of the informal sector by the ILO suggests “these units typically operate at a low level of organization, with little or no division between labor and capital as factors of production and on a small scale.”  Furthermore, where labor relations exist, interactions are not based on contracts or formal arrangements; rather they are grounded on casual employment, kinship, and personal or social relations.  Because employers in the informal sector are not accountable for complying with occupational safety measures, children who work in “hazardous” or “ultra-hazardous” settings likely run the risk of injury without any social protections.  For this reason, households may be reluctant to indicate work by children in the informal sector, which can increase the probability of underreporting.  In addition, because businesses in the informal sector are not usually included in official statistics, children working in informal sector enterprises do not show up in labor force activity rates. 

Source: ILO, “Informal Sector: Who are they?” [online] 2000; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/employment/skills/informal/who.htm.  See also ILO, proceedings of the 15th International Conference of Labor Statisticians, (Geneva, Switzerland, January 19-28, 1993).  See also U.S. Department of Labor, By the Sweat and Toil of Children, Vol. I: The Use of Child Labor in U.S. Manufactured and Mined Imports (Washington, D.C.: USDOL, 1994), 2.

IPEC:  International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor

In 1992, the ILO created IPEC to implement technical cooperation activities in countries with significant numbers of child laborers.  The objective of the IPEC program is the elimination of child labor, particularly children working under forced labor conditions and in bondage, children in hazardous working conditions and occupations, and especially vulnerable children, such as working girls and very young working children (under 12 years of age).

Countries participating in IPEC sign an MOU outlining the development and implementation of IPEC activities and the efforts to be undertaken by governments to progressively eradicate child labor.  IPEC National Program Steering Committees are then established with the participation of governments, industry and labor representatives, and experienced NGOs.  IPEC provides technical assistance to governments, but most of the direct action programs are carried out by local NGOs and workers’ and employers’ organizations.  IPEC activities include awareness-raising about child labor problems; capacity building for government agencies and statistical organizations; advice and support for direct action projects to withdraw working children from the workplace; and assistance to governments in drawing up national policies and legislation.  

From fiscal year 1995 to fiscal year 2004, the U.S. Congress appropriated approximately USD 247 million for ILO-IPEC projects.

Source:  See the following webpages from ILO-IPEC: What is IPEC:  IPEC at a Glance; available from: http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/about/implementation/ipec.htm; Programme Countries; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/about/countries/index.htm; and IPEC’s Strategy to Eliminate Child Labour; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/publ/download/factsheets/fs_ipecstrategy_0303.pdf.   See also U.S. Department of Labor, International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor [online]; available from http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/iclp/iloipec/main.htm.

Light Work

This report uses the definition of light work as established in ILO Convention 138, Minimum Age for Admission to Employment.  Under article 7(1) of the convention, “National laws or regulations may permit the employment or work of persons 13 to 15 years of age on light work which is – (a) not likely to be harmful to their health or development; and (b) not such as to prejudice their attendance at school, their participation in vocational orientation or training programmes approved by the competent authority or their capacity to benefit from the instruction received.”  Countries that have specified a minimum legal working age of 14 may permit the employment or work of persons 12 to 14 years of age on light work as defined in article 7(1). 

Source: ILO Convention No. 138, Minimum Age for Employment (1973), Article 3; available from. http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/convdisp2.htm

Net Primary Attendance Ratio

The net primary attendance ratio is the percentage of the official primary school age population that attends primary school.  This indicator shows the extent of participation in primary schooling among children of primary school age. In many countries the official primary school age group is 6 to 11 years.  The difference in national systems of education should be accounted for when comparing ratios.

Source: USAID, “UNESCO Indicator Definitions for GED Online,” [online]; available from http://qesdb.cdie.org/ged/un_def.html.

Net Primary Enrollment Ratio

The net primary enrollment ratio is the enrollment of primary students of the official primary school age expressed as a percentage of the primary school-age population.  A high net primary enrollment ratio denotes a high degree of participation of the official school-age population.  When compared with the gross primary enrollment ratio, the difference between the two ratios highlights the incidence of under-aged and over-aged enrollment. 

Source:USAID, “UNESCO Indicator Definitions for GED Online,” [online]; available from http://qesdb.cdie.org/ged/un_def.html

Non-formal Education

Any organized educational activity outside the established formal school system – whether operating separately or as an important feature of some broader activity – that is intended to serve identifiable learning objectives.  Non-formal or transitional education programs can enable former child workers to “catch up” or be “mainstreamed” with their peers who began their schooling at the appropriate age.  However, there should always be a strong link between such rehabilitation programs and the formal education system, since the latter will ensure opportunities for further education and employment.

Source:  ILO-IPEC, Child Labour: A Textbook for University Students, Appendix 2: Glossary, 290. (Geneva: International Labour Office, 2004).

Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper

A Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper is a document written by the government of a developing country with the participation of civil society to serve as the basis for concessional lending from the World Bank and the IMF, as well as debt relief under the World Bank’s Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.  A PRSP should measure poverty in the country, identify goals for reducing poverty, and create a spending and policy program for reaching those goals.  A PRSP should also ensure that a country's macroeconomic, structural, and social policies are consistent with the objectives of poverty reduction and social development.  A new PRSP must be written every three years in order to continue receiving assistance from International Financial Institutions such as the World Bank.

Source: World Bank, Overview of Poverty Reduction Strategies, [online]; available from http://www.worldbank.org/poverty/strategies/overview.htm

Primary Education

Primary education, sometimes called elementary education, refers to school usually beginning at 5 or 7 years of age and covering about six years of full-time schooling.  In countries with compulsory education laws, primary education generally constitutes the first (and sometimes only) cycle of compulsory education. 

Source: UNESCO, Education for All: Year 2000 Assessment: Glossary [CD-ROM], Paris, 2001.

Promotion Rate

The promotion rate is the percentage of pupils promoted to the next grade in the following school year.  Some countries practice automatic promotion, meaning that all pupils are promoted, regardless of their scholastic achievement.

Source: UNESCO, Education for All: Year 2000 Assessment: Glossary [CD-ROM], Paris, 2001.

Ratification

Ratification is a solemn undertaking by a State formally accepting the terms of an international agreement, thereby becoming legally bound to apply it.  Other ways of becoming bound to an international agreement include acceptance, approval, accession, signature, or an exchange of notes.

In order to ratify an agreement, a country must, if necessary, adopt new laws and regulations or modify the existing legislation and practice to support the agreement, and formally deposit the instruments of ratification with the appropriate depositary. (In the case of ILO Conventions, ratifications must be registered with the Director-General of the ILO’s International Labor Office.) 

For certain international agreements that require ratification, signing an agreement or enacting an agreement into domestic law by Congress, or a similar state organ, does not mean that the international agreement has been ratified.  Signing an international agreement serves as a preliminary endorsement, albeit a formality, as signatories are not bound by the terms of the international agreement or in any way committed to proceed to the final step of ratification.  However, a signatory is obliged to refrain from acts, which would defeat the object and purpose of the international agreement unless it makes its intention not to become a party to the international agreement clear.  Similarly, appropriate state entities may signal approval of an international agreement, but that is only one of the requisite steps on the path toward official ratification.  The final step requires that the instruments of ratification be deposited with the depositary. 

In the case of ILO conventions, ILO procedures provide the option to ratify or not ratify a convention, but do not include the option to sign a convention as a preliminary endorsement.  Generally, an ILO convention comes into force in a ratifying country 12 months after the government has deposited the requisite instrument of ratification.  This grace period provides ILO members time to enact or modify legislation to comply with the convention before it comes into force.

Source: ILO, “Glossary of Terms Related to International Labor Standards,” [online]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/norm/sources/glossry.htm.  See also UNICEF, The Process: From Signature to Ratification [online]; available from http://www.unicef.org/crc/process.htm.  See also ILO Convention No. 138: Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, Article 11; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/convdisp2.htm.  See also ILO Convention No. 182: Worst Forms of Child Labor, Article 9; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/convdisp2.htm.

Repetition Rate

The repetition rate is the percentage of pupils who enroll in the same grade the following school year as in the current school year.

Source: UNESCO, Education for All: Year 2000 Assessment: Glossary [CD-ROM], Paris, 2001.

Time-Bound Program

Time-Bound Programs are particular child labor interventions implemented by ILO-IPEC in collaboration with governments that aim to prevent and eliminate all incidences of the worst forms of child labor in a country within a defined period.  The objective is to eradicate these forms of child labor within a period of 5-10 years, depending on the magnitude and complexity of child labor in each country.  Since the start of this initiative in 2001, Time-Bound Programs have been initiated in 19 countries.

Source: ILO-IPEC, Eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labor: An Integrated and Time-Bound Approach, A Guide for Governments, Employers, Workers, Donors, and other Stakeholders, Geneva, April 2001, 3.  See also ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labour:  Highlights 2004, Geneva, October 2004, 8.

Trafficking of Children

The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children provides a commonly accepted definition of trafficking.  It states: “(a) ‘trafficking in persons’ shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.  Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs…”  It goes on to state: “ (c) the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered ‘trafficking in persons’ even if this does not involve any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article....”

The trafficking of children is identified as a worst form of child labor in ILO Convention 182.

Source:  United Nations, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, 2000; available at http://untreaty.un.org/English/notpubl/18-12-a.E.doc.  See also ILO Convention No. 182: Worst Forms of Child Labor (1999); available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/convdisp2.htm.

Unconditional Worst Forms of Child Labor

Unconditional worst forms of child labor refers to activities that constitute worst forms by definition.  Unconditional worst forms of child labor are generally illegal and objectionable forms of work, even for adults.  They include slavery, forced or compulsory labor, trafficking, debt bondage, involvement in illicit activities, commercial sexual exploitation, and the forced recruitment of children into armed conflict.  These forms have been identified as worst forms of child labor by the international community though the ratification of ILO Convention 182.

Source:International Labour Organization, Child Labour:  A Textbook for University Students (Geneva: International Labour Organization, 2004), 46-48; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/publ/download/pol_textbook_2004.pdf.

Worst Forms of Child Labor

See “ILO Convention 182: Worst Forms of Child Labor.”