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World Day Against Child Labor

The 2009 World Day Against Child Labor, held on June 12, 2009, focused on the theme of "Give Girls a Chance: End Child Labor." This year's World Day also marked the tenth anniversary of the adoption of International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. Convention 182, which calls for urgent action to stop the worst forms of child labor, is among the most widely ratified of ILO treaties and has become the cornerstone of the modern-day movement to end exploitive child labor.

The 2009 World Day shined the spotlight on the special circumstances of girls' involvement in child labor. According to ILO estimates, of the 218 million child laborers worldwide, 100 million are girls, more than half of whom are exposed to hazardous work. Girls work in a wide variety of sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, mining, quarrying, and domestic servitude in third-party homes. Girls are also frequently the victims of commercial sexual exploitation. In many cases, work performed by girls is hidden from the public eye, leaving them particularly vulnerable to physical danger and extreme exploitation.

Girls are often forced to carry a "double burden," having to contribute significantly to their own household's chores, including childcare, as well as undertaking other employment outside of their homes. At the same time, gender inequalities persist in accessing primary education. Of the 75 million out-of-school children in 2006, 55 percent were girls, and for every 100 boys in school, there are only 94 girls.

The World Day Against Child Labor was launched by the ILO in 2002 and has been held annually on June 12th every year since. It is marked by special celebrations and events around the world involving governments, civil society groups, employers' and workers' organizations, the media, schools, and others. Its purpose is to focus attention on the global incidence of child labor and efforts underway to address the issue.

Event photo. Caption below.

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis hosted a roundtable at the Department marking the 2009 World Day Against Child Labor. (DOL Photo/Kevin Kennedy)

Event photo. Caption below.

Children from Jinotega, Nicaragua attend school with the support of a project supported by the Department of Labor. Since 1995, ILAB has funded approximately $730 million in anti-child labor programs that have rescued more than 1.3 million children from labor exploitation. (DOL Photo/Kevin Kennedy)