World Day against Child Labour

ILO: Prevent child labour, protect children in conflict and disaster

Children put their lives in danger as they are pushed to child labour and trafficking in conflicts and disasters. Almost 70 million children are affected by natural disasters each year and 250 million children live in areas affected by armed conflict.

Press release | Manila, Philippines | 14 June 2017
Conflicts and disasters push millions of children into child labour or into the hands of traffickers. In times of conflict, in times of disaster, when livelihoods are disrupted, basic services are lost and people can be forced from their homes, entire families become more vulnerable. But it is children who often pay the heaviest price.

Almost 70 million children are affected by natural disasters each year. Children are more at risks to natural disasters in countries such as the Philippines and Myanmar. Children suffer the most as they are more vulnerable to child labour, trafficking and abuse.

Meanwhile, about 250 million children live in areas affected by armed conflict globally. Children are recruited and exploited as child soldiers, mostly in conflict affected areas in Asia and the Middle East. Children are not only used by armed groups as combatants, but also as spies, helpers and porters - or become victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 182 considers the recruitment and use of children for armed conflict as one of the worst forms of child labour.

The World Day against Child Labour (WDACL) held globally every 12 June focused this year on the impact of conflicts and disasters on child labour.

“Children put their lives in danger and suffer from abuse in conflicts and disasters. It is up to us adults and parents to protect them and to prevent child labour. No child must be left behind to fight for survival. Urgent action is needed to tackle child labour in disaster and conflict affected areas” said Khalid Hassan, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines.

According to the ILO, besides the dangers of combat, child soldiers often suffer physical and psychological abuse, harsh duties and punishments, and are frequently exposed to alcohol and drug consumption. This creates deep scars in children’s minds and reintegrating them once the conflict is over is often complicated.

Children displaced by conflicts and disasters move out of their homes. They are more vulnerable as they find themselves separated from their parents and relatives, while their education gets disrupted. Schools attacked, damaged or destroyed by war or used for military purposes often lead to trauma and harm children’s view of school as a safe place for education.

Child labour also violates international law, labour standards and UN Conventions, including the ILO child labour Conventions and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The ILO’s Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) have now been ratified by 169 and 180 member States including the Philippines.

The ILO however urged countries to back ratification with action and to treat child labour as a priority within humanitarian responses, and during reconstruction and recovery. Advancing target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals also require accelerated, intensified and coordinated action to end child labour aimed at:
  • Stronger integration and early addressing of child labour in humanitarian responses.
  • Targeting root causes of child labour through education, social protection, livelihood interventions and access to decent work for adults.
  • Upholding the human rights of refugee and displaced children to be protected from child labour and trafficking.
  • Strengthening collaborative efforts and advocacy through social dialogue to end the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict and in other worst forms of child labour.
  • Ensuring a continued focus on promoting a decent work agenda for preventing child labour during reconstruction and recovery processes, including by promoting skills training, social protection and
  • Decent work for adults and youth of working age.
In the Philippines, the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) chaired by the Department of Labor and Employment will mark the World Day against Child Labour 2017 in a free concert featuring songs, dances and poems on child labour. The concert is open to the public and will be held on Saturday, 17 June from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Rizal Park Open Auditorium.

Dubbed as “Himig at Tula para sa Isang Milyong Batang Malaya” or Songs and poems for one million Filipino children freed from child labour, the concert is anchored on the goal of the Philippine Program against Child Labor 2017 to 2022, which aims to reduce child labour by one million until 2025.

Everyone is encouraged to be part of the World Day against Child Labour in the Philippines by joining the free concert and posting their messages to help end child labour using the hashtags #1MBatangMalaya and #NOchildlabour.

For further information please contact:

Minette Rimando
Media and Public Information
ILO Country Office for the Philippines
Tel.: +63 2 580 9900 or 580 9905

Cesar Giovanni Soledad
National Project Coordinator
ILO CARING Gold Mining Project
Tel.: +63 2 580 9900