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ILO urges action on of child labour

2012-06-11 16:06

Geneva - Countries should step up their fight against the worst forms of child labour including sex trafficking and debt bondage, the International Labour Organisation said on Monday.

On the eve of the 10th annual World Day Against Child Labour, the ILO pointed to the "large gap" between the ratification of international conventions on the problem and meaningful action.

"There is no room for complacency when 215 million children are still labouring to survive and more than half of these are exposed to the worst forms of child labour, including slavery and involvement in armed conflict," said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia.

The warning comes despite the fact that the UN agency's two principal conventions on child labour are among the most widely ratified of all its agreements.

With more than five million children also caught up in sex trafficking and debt bondage, the ILO said in a new report that fundamental labour rights are still being ignored.

At a national level, the ILO says that relatively few child labour cases reach the courts and sanctions for violations are too weak to be effective deterrents against exploitation.

The answer is to strengthen national judicial and law enforcement institutions, along with victim protection programmes, the agency says.

It insists that employment for parents and education for children are "indispensable" in eliminating child labour.

"We cannot allow the eradication of child labour to slip down the development agenda - all countries should be striving to achieve this target, individually and collectively," Somavia said.