1. Action against child labour: A review of experience

Partnerships for effective action

The social partners and tripartite action

  1. An essential feature of ILO technical cooperation is tripartite action in­volving governments and employers’ and workers’ organizations. The ILO so­cial partners are uniquely placed to convey people’s concerns at and about work to their governments. Furthermore, active participation by the social partners in policy development and practical action against child labour has proved to be crucial at the regional, national and international levels. An im­portant number of IPEC’s action programmes call for the participation of em­ployers’ and workers’ organizations in their implementation.

Tripartite cooperation

Tripartite structures 285.When employers’ and workers’ organizations, together with individual and agreements companies or corporations and other stakeholders, become involved in the fight to eliminate child labour, then success is all the more likely. More co­herent and effective policies and plans can be developed and implemented through tripartite and “tripartite-plus” structures and agreements based on constructive social dialogue at industry, national and international levels.

  1. The recently adopted Protocol for the growing and processing of cocoa beans (see box 4.1) is a prime example of how major players in industry can join forces with human rights, workers’ and other organizations to seek to put an end to the worst forms of child labour and forced labour across a whole sec­tor.
  2. In 1999, an agreement was reached between the International Tobacco Growers’ Association (ITGA) and the International Union of Food, Agricul­tural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) to fight child labour in the tobacco industry through a joint programme of research, information exchange and action. The agreement recognized the link between child labour and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the poor rural communities where tobacco is grown. This agreement was followed, in 2000,

Box 4.1

Extracts from the “Cocoa Protocol”

Guiding principles:

  • OBJECTIVE – Cocoa beans and their derivative products should be grown and processed in a manner that complies with International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour. ILO Convention No. 182 is attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference.
  • RESPONSIBILITY – Achieving this objective is possible only through partnership among the major stakeholders: governments, global industry (…), cocoa producers, organized labour, non-governmental organizations, and consumers. Each partner has important responsibilities. …
  • ILO EXPERTISE – Consistent with its support for ILO Convention No. 182, industry recognizes the ILO’s unique expertise and welcomes its involvement in addressing this serious problem. The ILO must have a “seat at the table” and an active role in assessing, monitoring, reporting on, and remedying the worst forms of child labour in the growing and processing of cocoa beans and their derivative products.

Source: Chocolate Manufacturers’ Association and World Cocoa Foundation: “Protocol for the Grow­ing and Processing of Cocoa Beans and Their Derivative Products in a Manner that Complies with

ILO Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the

Worst Forms of Child Labour”, 2001.

by the establishment of a partnership with a major private sector company to tackle child labour.[1]

  1. Informal tripartite agreement was also reached recently, in the context of an ILO-sponsored workshop, in the gemstone industry to work together to en­sure the elimination of all child labour from that industry, with “verifiable, time-bound targets” set by tripartite bodies in each country. The workshop recommendations highlighted that removal from child labour should not worsen the situation of the children or have an adverse effect on family in­come, and emphasized the importance of a credible monitoring system.[2]
  2. Tripartite sectoral meetings organized by the ILO provide opportunities for governments and the social partners to address the abolition of child la­bour along with other sectoral concerns. Sectoral meetings that have consid­ered child labour issues in 2000-01 include those on agriculture, fishing, footwear, leather, textiles and clothing, construction, and hotels and tourism.

Collective bargaining

  1. Collective bargaining is another way for trade unions and employers to come together to combat child labour. One example of this is the agreement signed between the National Union of Plantation and Agricultural Workers (NUPAW) and the Kakira Sugar Works in Uganda, which includes a clause stating that no child under the age of 18 shall be employed by the company. Another example is the work of the National Confederation of Workers in Agriculture (CONTAG) in Brazil, which conducts training courses for trade union leaders on how to incorporate clauses on children’s rights, including child labour, into their collective bargaining agreements. A review of existing clauses on child labour found that they focused on the prohibition of the em­ployment of children under the age of 14. Certain agreements included edu­cational provisions for children of workers.
  1. At the international level, the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) has developed a model collective agreement aimed at combating prostitution in tourism to assist affiliates in addressing this issue through collective bar­gaining. The model elaborates nine points for negotiation with employers. Codes of conduct have also been developed by trade unions and by employers for particular sectors (e.g. construction and tea). The ICFTU and the Global Union Federations (GUF, formerly the International Trade Secretariats) have produced a basic model code that has been adapted by some GUF to reflect sector-specific considerations.

Employers and their organizations

  1. Employers and their representative organizations have a key role to play in combating child labour, through mobilizing themselves and their members across the world to join the fight against it. Although a minority of employers, particularly in the informal economy, may contribute to the problem by offer­ing children work, all employers can equally be part of the solution. A firm commitment to this cause was declared in 1996 in the resolution adopted by the General Council of the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) calling on “employers everywhere” to raise awareness of the human, economic and social costs of child labour and to develop action plans to put its policies into effect.[3] The resolution specified a range of practical measures to be un­dertaken by employers to address child labour. Many of the important initi­atives since undertaken by national employers’ federations are described in the Employers’ handbook on child labour: A guide for taking action.[4]
  2. In addition to the human dimension of the problem, most employers are acutely aware of the detrimental impact of child labour on human resources development, economic growth and ultimately on the ability of national eco­nomies and enterprises to compete globally. As stated in the IOE Handbook: “The mere accusation that a company is using child labour in its operations, either directly or indirectly, can lead to an immediate blow to its reputation and the threat of consumer boycotts.” And such pressure can initially result in unfortunate consequences for the very children that are supposed to be helped. Box 4.2 demonstrates the dangers of precipitate action, but also what can be achieved by a multi-faceted programme of rehabilitation and educa­tion, coupled with an independent child labour monitoring system.
  3. There is a wide range of potential roles for employers and their organiza­tions in combating child labour. The more headline-grabbing initiatives at the corporate level include the adoption of voluntary codes of conduct by com­panies involved in international export markets, as well as various social la­belling, certification and other market-based approaches associated with the “socially responsible business” movement.[5] An ILO survey of around 215 private sector codes in 1998 found that just under half addressed child labour; among these, the majority used “self-defined” prohibition, sometimes but not

Box 4.2

Fighting child labour in the Bangladesh garment industry

International concern about the number of children employed in the fast­expanding Bangladesh garment industry led to the Harkin Bill in the United States in early 1993. This called for an immediate ban on the import to the United States of goods manufactured wholly, or in part, by child labour.

The Bill sent shock waves through the garment industry. Factory owners, in an effort to avoid possible sanctions, began dismissing child workers, many of whom then faced destitution.

This unfortunate experience led the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the ILO and UNICEF in 1995, aimed at the withdrawal of children from work. It provided for a special education programme for former working children, monitoring and verification in the garment factories, income compensa­tion, skills training, micro-credit and entrepreneurship training for the children’s families.

By the end of 2000, the proportion of garment factories using child labour had been reduced from 43 per cent in 1995 to less than 4 per cent. Around 27,000 child workers have been identified and withdrawn from BGMEA member factories; many of these children received rehabilitation through education, sti­pends and skills training.

Under a new MOU signed in June 2000, a follow-up project was envisaged to address, in addition to child labour monitoring, other issues of concern in the industry. The new project, to be supported by the InFocus Programme on Pro­moting the Declaration, will address workers’ fundamental rights, health and safety in the factories and management systems and will strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Labour and Employment for law enforcement.

always specifying a minimum age for employment, usually of 14 or 15 years; fewer than 10 per cent of these codes referred to Convention No. 138.[6]

Importance of monitoring and enforcement

  1. At country level, employers’ organizations have been involved in:
  • influencing the development of national policies on child labour;
  • identifying child labour in specific industries or tasks;
  • implementing basic educational and vocational training programmes;
  • human resources development and skills enhancement;
  • supporting alternative means of income generation for parents of child labourers;
  • finding ways to improve children’s working conditions as a transitional measure, outside the worst forms of child labour. [7]
  1. Specific examples of action by employers at country level are awareness­raising activities in Ghana, Nepal and the Philippines (see box 4.3), and

Box 4.3

Philippine employers reward action against child labour

The Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has established, with IPEC support, a scheme for recognizing “child-friendly firms”. ECOP recently conferred the award on a major hotel in Manila found to have demonstrated suc­cess in adopting good business practices related to the abolition of child labour: compliance with labour laws and regulations, not employing children and ensur­ing that young workers perform non-hazardous work, conducting advocacy against child exploitation, and commitment to undertake collaborative activities with ECOP and other organizations against child abuse and exploitation.

sector-specific work in India (bangle-making, stainless-steel production, bidi-making, hotels and small automobile garages and workshops), Kenya (commercial coffee, rice and sugar plantations) and Peru (brick-kilns, gar­bage recycling and vending). Programmes to remove and rehabilitate child labourers are under way in Central America (coffee industry, targeting 20,000 children, more than most such programmes) and Pakistan (child domestic workers and soccer-ball stitchers) with the active support and participation of employers.

  1. In Turkey, employers’ organizations are responding to the challenge of child labourers (90 per cent are boys) employed in small-scale enterprises in which pay is low, hours are long and conditions not appropriate for their age and development needs. The Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Handi­crafts (TESK) has established and funded a system of workplace inspection and consultation groups with initial support from IPEC. There are now 4,500 workplace inspection and consultation groups. Working adolescents have been directed into the government vocational training scheme and working conditions have also improved. Periodic medical screening of working chil­dren has improved both child and employer understanding of occupational safety and health. The Turkish Confederation of Employer Associations (TISK) has concentrated its efforts on small and medium-sized enterprises in the metal industry, encouraging employers to register working children in formal apprenticeship programmes and to improve safety.

Employers are 299. The wide array of possible approaches for employers and corporations to a diverse group adopt points to a need for systematic, rigorous and independent assessment and documentation of how effective each one is, and for the elaboration of guidelines on their potential advantages and pitfalls in different situations. Employers are an extremely heterogeneous group, ranging from multinational corporations to micro-enterprises, and the measures appropriate to each cat­egory of employer, and even within categories, will be similarly diverse. Given the predominance of child labour in informal and hidden parts of the economy and at the end of long supply chains, the most effective approaches involve an alliance of partners working together at different levels.

Support from ACT/EMPloyers’ Activities (ACT/EMP) assists employers’

organizations in member States with information, advice and assistance re­garding child labour, often in collaboration with IPEC. ACT/EMP is carrying out a project in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, Peru, Sen­egal, Uganda and Zimbabwe to enhance the participation of employers’ or­ganizations in national efforts to eliminate child labour. It aims to establish child labour units in each national employers’ organization, to improve under­standing of the characteristics and consequences of child labour among em­ployers and to involve employers in advocating the elimination of child labour as a priority of national policy.

  1. Action involving the private sector also occurs at the international level. The Global Compact is a voluntary initiative launched by the United Nations Secretary-General in 1999 that challenges the business community to work with the United Nations to uphold nine human rights, labour and environmen­tal principles, including all four ILO fundamental principles and rights at work. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has issued explicit guide­lines prohibiting the use of forced or harmful child labour in the private sector projects it finances, making reference to the provisions of Convention No. 138.41 Provisions aimed at avoiding child labour are increasingly being intro­duced into the guidelines of international agencies for procurement of goods and services. Government departments are following suit. The United States General Accounting Office (GAO) released, in January 2002, the report De­fense management: Industry practices can help military exchanges better assure that their goods are not made by child or forced labor42 that recommends a framework to ensure that its private label exchange merchandise is not pro­duced by child or forced labour in the supplying factories located abroad.

Workers’ organizations

  1. Workers’ organizations have been active in the child labour field through direct project interventions, documentation, research and advocacy. Most of the GUF and many national trade union organizations have policies on child labour that formalize their commitment to work towards its abolition. The GUF have carried out studies on child labour in different sectors, for example, the International Federation of Building and Woodworkers (IFBWW) on brick­kilns in Malawi, the International Textile, Garment, and Leather Workers’ Federation (ITGLWF) on the textile sector in Asia, and the Universal Alliance of Diamond Workers (UADW) on the involvement of child labour in the gem­stone industry in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. National trade unions have also undertaken surveys of child labour in specific sectors (see also box 4.4). The Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospi­tals and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA), for example, participated in a study of child labour in tourism in the coastal region, with support from the IUF and the ILO Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV).43 The Conservation, Ho­tels, Domestic and Allied Workers’ Union (CHODAWU) in the United Republic of Tanzania has been active, with IUF, ACTRAV and IPEC sup­port, in combating child labour through research, awareness raising, preven­tion and withdrawal. An IUF/ILO-sponsored seminar in 1998 involving representatives of CHODAWU and KUDHEIHA focused on child domestic workers; it resulted in the production of the trade union manual Child labour in domestic service: Methods and strategies for policy development and action plans. Trade unions have undertaken awareness-raising campaigns, including production of materials such as videos, manuals, leaflets, posters and T-shirts. For example, Public Services International (PSI) has developed a handbook, campaign materials and guidelines on how the public sector can ensure that child labour is not used in the goods and services that it procures.
  2. The World Confederation of Labour (WCL) actively campaigns through its members for ratification and implementation of Convention No. 182. In March 2001, the ICFTU launched its Global Unions Campaign: Get involved to stop child labour, which includes the involvement of youth structures and committees representing the 15-18 year age group. The ICFTU has also [8] [9] [10]

Box 4.4

Trade union work to combat the worst forms of child labour
in the Philippines

The National Union of Workers in the Hotel, Restaurant and Allied Indus­tries (NUWHRAIN) in the Philippines undertook a research and training/aware­ness-raising project that used innovative methods to reach children beyond the scope of many projects.

NUWHRAIN conducted in-depth interviews with 500 children working in Metro Manila, including those in illegal labour situations. The children were en­couraged, with promises of anonymity and no reprisals, to give information that was used to build a socio-demographic profile of each child, along with other de­tails of their lives and ambitions. The result was a detailed picture of the situation of the children – where they came from, how they became involved in labour, what they faced there and where it might lead. Fifty case studies were prepared for use in a collection of material: At your service: Combating child labour in the tourism industry. The material was used in training and awareness courses that NUWHRAIN leaders ran for workers, in advocacy work with government officials, for reference in collective bargaining with employers, and to mobilize workers in the tourism industry.

Source: P. Boonpala and J. Kane: Trafficking of children: The problem and responses worldwide (Geneva, ILO, 2001).

worked with the Global March Against Child Labour in a range of advocacy and information activities. ICFTU youth campaigns recognize that as young people usually make up the majority of the population in developing coun­tries, this is an important group to target in the development of strong national trade union movements.[11]

  1. Trade union influence can be increased when several unions join forces. For example, in India five national trade union centres and four teachers’ or­ganizations are working towards the elimination of child labour by regularly meeting to share experiences and information. Such cooperation is also evid­ent in Nepal, Sri Lanka and

Special role 305. Teachers’ unions have a special role to play, given the centrality of edu-for teachers cation in any effective strategy to abolish child labour. Yet, as long as teach­ers’ status, training and wages are inadequate – which is the case in so many places across the world – they will be sorely ill-equipped to fulfil their role in helping to keep children in school and out of work. The ICFTU has emphas­ized that action to ensure education for all must include support for teachers’ rights to organize and to bargain collectively, and the removal of discrimin­atory barriers that exclude certain groups from the profession.[12] Education International adopted a resolution on child labour in 1998 and has developed a toolkit for teachers on child labour issues. Teachers can help to keep chil­dren in school by providing good quality, relevant education, but to do this they need good training, material and curricula. They are uniquely placed to raise awareness of the consequences of child labour at community level, and can also help monitor child labour incidence.

  1. Unions can also lobby government regarding legislation. In Paraguay, the Paraguayan Education Workers’ Trade Union (OTEP) contributed to mod­erating those articles of a draft Labour Code that would have favoured child labour. In Brazil, the National Confederation of Education Workers (CNTE) campaigns for children by conducting research and disseminating information on education and child labour, fighting for appropriate public policies and re­source allocation for schools as well as for proper pay, status and training for teachers and social educators. Other recent examples of teachers’ organiza­tions working in innovative ways against child labour, with the support of IPEC, are in Bangladesh, Egypt, Kenya, Nepal, Peru, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania.
  2. Trade unions of media professionals also have an important role to play in combating child labour through responsible media coverage. The Interna­tional Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has produced draft guidelines and prin­ciples for reporting on issues involving children; these were published at the Second World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in Yokohama in December 2001.[13]
  3. Child labour is one of the priority areas for technical cooperation for ACTRAV, which currently runs two worldwide projects dealing with child labour: Developing national and international trade union strategies to combat child labour, and Action against child labour through education and training. The objective of these projects is to strengthen the ability of trade union or­ganizations to develop policy and action plans to combat child labour. Work­shops and activities have been carried out in cooperation with the GUFs and national trade unions and federations. The projects are operational in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East in around 50 countries and territories.[14] ACTRAV also supports the GUF to press the international finan­cial institutions to pursue policies that are consistent with the ILO fundamen­tal principles and rights at work and ratified ILO Conventions, including those on child labour.[15] A series of booklets, Trade unions and child labour, has been developed by ACTRAV and disseminated widely to assist trade unions in their activities relating to child labour (see box 4.5).

Other partners in civil society

  1. Many other partners also have an important contribution to make in the fight against child labour: children and their families, international and na­tional non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, the media, universities and religious groups, to name but a few. Given the limited reach of formal institutions, including employers’ and workers’ organizations, into the informal economy, broad-based partnerships that capitalize on the comparative advantage of each partner must be forged.
  2. The NGO role can take on particular importance in situations where free­dom of association and expression is difficult and where the extent and severity

Box 4.5

The ACTRAV training package: Trade unions and child labour1

The training package was developed through a collective process involving trade unionists across the world, and tested through workshops held in Africa and Asia. It aims to help trade unions understand and develop their own specific role in relation to child labour.

The package comprises seven booklets:

  • Guide to the booklets.
  • Union policies and action plans to combat child labour.
  • Fact finding and information about child labour.
  • Campaigning against child labour.
  • Collective bargaining to combat child labour.
  • Using ILO standards to combat child labour.
  • The tripartite structure to combat child labour.

1 The package was produced under the ACTRAV project Developing national and international trade union strategies to combat child labour. The package is available in Arabic, English, Eritrean, French, Hindi, Spanish and Thai, and is being translated into Mongolian and other key languages. of child labour is either unknown or concealed.[16] NGOs can also help vulner­able and marginalized groups, including child labourers, have their voices heard by government and other decision-makers at local, national and even international levels.

  1. NGOs working in the field of child labour vary in size and scale from in­ternational through to local NGOs whose scope of operations may be limited to a single group of children in one town. NGOs can be broadly subdivided into those with a greater interest in advocacy and those with a greater interest in welfare and protection. After the CRC was adopted, international NGOs be­gan to reconsider their work with children to bring about a change from an es­sentially welfare-based, adult-focused, charitable approach to a more children-centred, rights-based approach. NGOs often have a comparative ad­vantage in piloting and evaluating alternative strategies and interventions at community level. They have also played a vital role in advocacy for the elim­ination of child labour by publishing materials in local languages and running training workshops for staff of local partners.[17]
  2. NGOs are active in advocacy and participatory research at local level in order to understand and change community attitudes to child labour. Consid­erable experience exists in ways to develop community ownership and long­term sustainability. This includes experience in promoting the involvement of children in decision-making. [18] As the ILO has found in Latin America, local NGOs can be well placed to build on the trust that exists at community level when setting up microfinance and micro-insurance schemes aimed to encour­age parents to withdraw their children from work and to send them to school. [19]
  3. Thus, IPEC projects frequently include NGOs as partners, along with employers’ and workers’ organizations and governments.

Good practices in the abolition of child labour

  1. Extensive experience now exists within and outside the ILO in effective interventions for the abolition of child labour. This Report deals with only a fraction of that experience. It presents an overview of some of the main lessons learned to date, and of the main types of intervention to combat child labour, giving examples of good practices that are emerging.

Important lessons learned in the fight against child labour

  1. On the basis of a decade of experience in IPEC, many important lessons have emerged and these are being reflected in the design of new programmes and the development of existing ones. IPEC examined experience in child labour programmes in seven countries in order to identify good practice examples.[20] The study confirmed that action is needed to create the condi­tions necessary for action on child labour, to build the capacity of major actors, and to assist working children directly and prevent new child labour.
  2. Building national ownership of programmes among a broad alliance of government and civil society organizations is crucial for effectiveness and long-term sustainability, but takes time. A comprehensive approach is needed, combining many different elements in a multi-pronged attack on child labour, through education and training, awareness raising to change at­titudes, legal reform and enforcement, income generation and employment creation for adults, and appropriate social protection systems, with strong in­volvement of communities and children at all stages in the process.
  3. Investment in prevention of child labour is the most cost-effective ap­proach in the long run. But, while longer-term alternatives and prevention strategies are taking effect, it is imperative to act immediately to eliminate the worst forms of child labour, removing specific dangers and prohibiting chil­dren from engaging in dangerous activities.
  4. Information is a vital tool in planning effective programmes, but capacity needs to be built for its collection, analysis and dissemination. Action re­search is difficult and can even be dangerous in the case of worst forms. In addition, there may be many more worst forms than at first envisaged. Hazards are often overlooked because the harm done to children may at first be invis­ible, as with cognitive and psychological damage. Expert assessment of the actual risks to working children can be a powerful tool for motivating change among children, parents and policy-makers alike. Policy-makers can focus more easily on hazardous forms of labour, and this focus provides an entry point to deal with all child labour, and also adult labour, conditions.
  5. Rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of the worst forms of child labour is difficult and costly. Cost-effective models that can be adapted and replicated more widely need to be established and documented. Community- based solutions offer the most promise, yet there are some cases in which fam­ilies and communities may not be willing or able to welcome children back. Realistic alternatives for children who are withdrawn from work must be iden­tified before this withdrawal commences.
  6. Many national partner institutions lack capacity in programme design, delivery and monitoring. Capacity building can take place at the same time as action – there is no better way of learning than through practical experience. IPEC’s role should increasingly be in building this capacity, providing advice, sharing experience and good practice, and acting as a catalyst and facilitator for the abolition of child labour. IPEC’s own success cannot therefore be judged only in terms of the numbers of children and families directly benefit­ing from programme interventions. The development of the capacity of na­tional partners to deal effectively with child labour is equally important and, in the long-run, the only sustainable solution to child labour.
  1. Labour inspectors have a critical role to play in keeping workplaces free of child labour and in educating employers and community members. But they cannot adequately cover all child labour situations. Innovative mechanisms, involving a range of stakeholders, are required to monitor the informal eco­nomy. Such shared responsibility results in greater sustainability.

Typology of interventions against child labour

  1. Table 8 presents a non-exhaustive typology of child labour inter­ventions, 54 classified by the level at which they occur (children, family, social partners and civil society organizations, government) and by the category of intervention (education and training, social protection and welfare, rescue and rehabilitation, working conditions, monitoring and enforcement, advo­cacy and social mobilization). All projects and programmes involve a combi­nation of interventions, at different levels. The table illustrates the diversity of measures that can be applied, adapted and combined in different ways.

Advocacy and social mobilization

Changing attitudes is key 323. Advocacy and social mobilization at all levels are crucial components of

any effective effort to abolish child labour. More information than ever before is available, as are means at our disposal for communicating it – from tradi­tional print, through the spoken word, to the electronic in all its forms – and each must be used to its best advantage. Information must be put to work to raise awareness among politicians, the public and parents, to motivate adult workers, employers and trade unions to protect children from exploitation, and to mobilize all sectors of society, including children, to put an end to child labour. The struggle against child labour is first and foremost a matter of changing attitudes. Once people at all levels are convinced that no one gains through child labour, action to abolish it is bound to encounter much less res­istance and receive much greater active support. People must be convinced not only that child labour should be abolished but also that it can be abolished.

Campaign for 324. The ILO campaign for universal ratification of Convention No. 182, ratification of launched in June 1999, has been an example of highly successful mobiliza- Convention No. 182 tion of public opinion on a global scale against the worst forms of child labour.

This campaign has involved many different partners and has targeted wider audiences than the ILO constituents, including parliamentarians, intergov­ernmental and non-governmental organizations, national and international media. Many different communication technologies, campaign materials and approaches are used, including some addressed specifically to children. Cam­paign activities have been conducted at many high-profile international and regional events, including the African Cup of Nations in Mali in January 2002 with the Red Card to Child Labour campaign (see box 4.6). IPEC supports campaign activities at country level with local partners. Information materials that take on board the prevailing cultural perceptions of child labour are

Based on data from A. Fyfe: Child labour: A guide to project design (Geneva, ILO, 1993), pp. 14-15.

Table 8. A typology of child labour interventions

Category of intervention Level of intervention      
  Children Family Social partners and civil society organizations Government
Education and training Access to appropriate schooling Non-formal education

Vocational training

Training in rights

School meals

Educating parents on value of education, hazards of child labour and needs and rights of children

Vocational/skills training

Income replacement, e.g. stipends Parent-teacher links

Formal and non-formal education Vocational training

Community-based training in rights Community-based monitoring of delivery and quality of education services

Expansion of education

Compulsory education

Education free or with costs offset for destitute families

Improved access for girls and excluded groups

National vocational training strategy

Social protection and welfare Health monitoring

Access to health care


Children’s clubs

Accessible social protection

Welfare support

Community health centres

Drop-in centres

Advice on social protection

Social dialogue and collective bargaining

Community health care


Social protection strategy for marginalized groups

Poverty reduction strategies

Rescue and rehabilitation Removal from the worst forms of child labour

Rehabilitation, including family reintegration where possible

Economic alternatives, micro­credit, small business support Family counselling Volunteer support

Reducing stigma

Community awareness of children’s rights

Community alternatives to institutional rehabilitation

Provision of rehabilitation facilities

Support for community livelihood alternatives

Capacity building in counselling and other relevant professional skills

Working conditions (protected work for 15+ year olds, or 14+ where this is the minimum age) Alternatives to hazardous work

Safe working environment

Work placement schemes Apprenticeship schemes

Economic alternatives: information about hazards and safety Protected work schemes

Volunteer support

Involvement in skills training

Social dialogue and collective bargaining

Support for community-based initiatives Labour inspection

School-to-work transition programmes

Monitoring and enforcement Raising awareness of labour standards and national legislation Reporting and monitoring violations Education on children’s rights, labour standards and national legislation

Reporting and monitoring violations

Independent monitoring system Self-monitoring by employers

Mobilizing trade unions on behalf of unorganized and marginal workers Raising awareness among employers Community-Based Organizations (CBO) for pressure and enforcement

Organizing and involving women’s groups

New or revised legislation

Implementing time-bound programmes Expanding and enhancing labour inspection

Birth registration

Training of enforcers (police, customs, border guards, lawyers, judges)

Creating children-friendly courts and legal processes

Advocacy and social mobilization Peer recruitment

Developing awareness of rights Child-to-child approach

Involvement in campaigns

Developing democratic involvement and decision-making

Targeting by mass media and use of mass media by children, e.g. comics

Targeting by mass media involvement in campaigns Awareness of rights and obligations Citizen’s groups

Community theatre

Sporting and other events

Campaigns around local child labour issues

Mobilization of teachers, women, religious groups, CBOs, employers’ groups, trade unions

Using state-owned media

Including rights and child labour in high-level political statements Widespread high-profile posters and hoardings throughout national transport systems (including airports)


Box 4.6

The Red Card to Child Labour campaign

The ILO’s Red Card to Child Labour campaign was launched at the start of the 2002 African Cup of Nations in Bamako, Mali, in January 2002. The campaign is co-sponsored by the African Football Confederation (CAF) and the Organizing Committee for the African Cup of Nations (COCAN) 2002. It aims to capitalize on the huge popularity of football and the publicity the tournament will generate across the continent and beyond, to raise public awareness of child labour and encourage people everywhere to join the global movement to abolish it.

The campaign is symbolized by the red card handed out by referees for ser­ious violations of rules on the soccer field.

produced in local languages on the basis of information gathered through na­tional surveys.

  1. Many other organizations have also taken up the cause of universal rati­fication of Convention No. 182 with zeal, reflecting the strong international consensus that it embodies. For example, both the ICFTU and the WCL are carrying out campaigns promoting ratification of Convention No. 182 in the context of the overall abolition of child labour. Cooperation with networks such as the Global March Against Child Labour and the Sub-Group on Child Labour of the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (which has its own campaign to promote ratification of Convention No. 182) further enhances impact at all levels. While the ILO campaign currently focuses on encouraging ratification of Convention No. 182, it also aims to raise awareness of child labour more generally and to mobilize society for implementation of the Convention. UNICEF is also promoting ratification through its country programmes.

Strategies 326. Strategies for social mobilization at a national level must be tailored to for mobilization the various target groups. Experience shows that, inter alia, the following ap­proaches are effective:

  • creating a social alliance of institutions; bringing together the various in­stitutional players on a joint platform to give them greater power to influ­ence policy and ensure that adequate resources are mobilized;
  • awareness raising among the general public, using all forms of media from radio and TV to street theatre and exhibitions, with the participa­tion of children and youth as well as that of prominent personalities;
  • obtaining public commitments by policy-makers and opinion leaders;
  • empowerment of communities at risk of and affected by child labour. Community-based organizations are often best placed to ensure that pro­grammes to combat child labour are realistic and adapted to the local context. In Nepal, for example, community surveillance groups are ac­tive in preventing the trafficking of children by identifying, monitoring and supporting “at risk” families and children.
  1. The mass media have a critical role to play in communicating informa­tion about child labour. The information they convey can have a significant influence on public policy and programming, as well as on the priorities of donors. Images and stories of street children, for example, have tended to di­rect money into projects targeted at this group, at the expense of other groups who may indeed be larger or in greater need of help. Sensationalist treatment of exploited children in the press is contrary to children’s rights and may even endanger children and the people who work with them. Various initiatives are under way to ensure that child labourers get a fair and balanced hearing in the media. An NGO called The PressWise Trust, working together with the International Federation of Journalists and UNICEF, offers training to journalists to help them respect the rights of children when dealing with the com­mercial sexual exploitation of children, and encourages them to establish their own codes of conduct to regulate coverage of child abuse.
  1. The use of radio, TV and the press is at the top of the list for awareness Role of mass media raising according to a seven-country study by IPEC. One of the most effective examples encountered was a TV series on the lives of working children shown on a popular children’s show in the Philippines, which was later reproduced on video and shown in schools. In the United Republic of Tanzania, the Department of Information Services established, with support from IPEC, a partnership with leading newspapers, radio stations and TV channels. Each partner publishes articles or broadcasts programmes on child labour at least once a month. They visit project sites in order to give solution-oriented mes­sages concerning child labour. The journalists concerned meet regularly to re­view publications and take steps to improve the quality of information. Media initiatives such as videos, children’s books and cartoons form a key part of IPEC activity in Latin America. The Government of Germany reports a project it has initiated, with Terre des Hommes and the European Commis­sion, which has produced a brief information film on the fight against child sex tourism.[21] The film is screened on the international flights of various airline companies, and has also been widely shown on German public and private tel­evision stations.
  1. Current and former child labourers can themselves be the most powerful advocates for change (see box 4.7).

Good education systems can prevent child labour

  1. Countries have adopted, often with IPEC support, a range of approaches to ensure that children withdrawn from child labour, those who remain work-

Box 4.7

The Global March Against Child Labour

A number of leading child rights and human rights organizations joined forces in 1997 to plan the Global March Against Child Labour, to mobilize world­wide opinion against child labour and in favour of education.

A broad-based coalition was brought together around the cause, involving children (many of them former and current child labourers), NGOs, trade unions, activists, governments, academics, journalists, religious leaders and celebrities. The Global March began in January 1998 when three groups of marchers set out from Manila, Sao Paulo and Cape Town. It crossed a total of 107 countries across the world, collecting children’s thumbprints and holding multiple events to raise awareness along the way, before arriving in Geneva, where the marchers were greeted by a standing ovation from the delegates to the International Labour Con­ference in June 1998.

The Global March continues its work in information and advocacy against child labour, and has taken up the issue of Education For All as an integral part of its campaign.1

1 The Global March Against Child Labour also manages the Child Labour News Service, which pro­duces a fortnightly news bulletin covering child labour issues and solutions around the world, see www.childlabournews.info

ing in the short term, as well as those at risk of being drawn into labour, are provided with and able to derive the maximum benefit from education.[22]

  1. School readiness programmes – for very young children – provide an ex­cellent opportunity to spread the word to parents and communities about de­velopmental needs, rights and the importance of education. Children whose early childhood experiences are positive perform better in school, and they are less likely to drop out and be drawn into child labour. Such programmes can also help detect special needs of children.
  2. Children-friendly schools can provide a safe learning environment, equitable access, and also recognition of children’s rights and responsibili­ties. Participation of children, families and communities is key to the philos­ophy. For example, in India, the M. Venkatarangaiah Foundation in Andhra Pradesh, uses a multi-faceted approach strategy to prevent early drop-out and involvement in child labour, by motivating parents, easing enrolment prob­lems and bridging the gap between home and school. The programme involves government teachers’ groups, local community elders, employers/landlords involved in bonded labour and locally elected representatives. As a result of the systematic extension of this programme, 85 villages have been made child labour free in the past decade.
  3. Flexible timetables and other forms of flexibility in education can also help to accommodate the needs of working children and their families, as a transitional measure. In Mexico, for example, the national Agricultural Day Labourers’ Programme of the Secretariat of Social Development addresses the needs of children of migrant workers, who often work together with their fam­ilies and may live away from their home areas for months at a time, thus miss­ing school. The programme allows children to enrol in a school in one state and attend in another.[23] The Government is also undertaking a non-formal edu-cation (NFE) programme for urban child labourers, aimed at using com­munity and family strengths to ensure that working children and adolescents stay at school. A model was designed, targeting 90 per cent of the children working in streets and public places. It is currently operational in 35 towns with the aim to achieve national coverage by 2002. [24] The Government also of­fers academic and training grants.
  4. Different forms of NFE have been widely tried and tested. NFE is crucial in smoothing the transition from work to school for child labourers who are not ready or able to make the move straight from the workplace to formal school. NFE programmes that combine basic education with practical life and work skills are responsive to the needs of former child labourers, enabling them to re-enter the labour market later in better jobs. NFE is not normally an alter­native to the state-run formal system, but rather a stepping stone to main­streaming children into formal schools as and when they are ready. IPEC’s general guideline is that children under 10 years old should go directly to mainstream education systems, those aged 11-12 should leave NFE within 12 months and enter the formal system, and for older children NFE can lead either to mainstreaming, or to vocational training, higher education or em­ployment.
  5. The ILO has found that economic incentives, if they are implemented as part of a comprehensive approach that includes improved educational quality, awareness raising and community involvement, can encourage parents to send children to school, and thus help to reduce child labour.[25] The food-for- education programmes are one of many schemes that provide compensation in return for school attendance. Other mechanisms include school meals, family food supplements, school vouchers, cash stipends, skills and vocational train­ing that bring in some income, micro-credit loans and scholarships. For exam­ple, bolsa escola is a family stipend/school scholarship initiative that has been taken up on a national scale in Brazil and is now being extended to the least developed countries in Africa. It provides a minimum monthly salary to poor families that agree to keep all their 7-14-year-olds enrolled in and recording 90-per-cent attendance in school. Unemployed adult family members have to be enrolled in the national employment system. At the same time, a School Savings Programme was implemented as an additional incentive. The school drop-out rate was reduced to a minimal level. Such schemes can alleviate pov­erty in the short term as well as increase a family’s assets in the long term. And the cost need not be prohibitive: in Brazil, it was 1 per cent of the Federal District’s annual budget. [26]
  1. Education programmes can form part of the response to a crisis, thus pre­venting the children affected being drawn into child labour (see box 4.8).
  2. High-quality education means that teachers must be trained and confid­ent in children-centred teaching approaches and methods, and skilled in classroom management and in evaluating learning. Teacher training is a fea­ture of the Time-Bound Programme in the United Republic of Tanzania, where less than 50 per cent of primary school teachers have a Grade A certi­ficate (even lower for female teachers) and the better teachers are concen­trated in urban areas. [27]
  3. Apprenticeship and vocational training also have a crucial role to play in preparing young people for decent work and preventing child labour. Tradi­tional apprenticeship systems can be upgraded by, for example, providing ac­cess to capital and credit, work premises, craft associations and technological improvements. Skills upgrading of trainers, through intensive evening courses, can be an effective means of improving informal apprenticeships, as has been demonstrated in the United Republic of Tanzania.
  4. Vocational training schemes could be much improved by better market research to determine not only what skills are in demand now, but also what skills will be in demand in the next five to ten years when these young people will be attempting to support their own families. Better follow-up programmes need to be put in place to support trainees once they graduate. For former child labourers who have missed out on formal schooling, broader forms of vocational training that provide basic education, life skills (including job­seeking and work habits) and a range of transferable skills, rather than a single skill, may be the most effective.[28]
  5. IPEC programmes now frequently include a vocational training compon­ent for older children. For example, a project in North West Frontier Province in Pakistan has enabled the Directorate of Manpower and Training to deliver six to ten months’ pre-vocational and vocational training in car repair, tailor­ing and domestic wiring to around 100 boys and 200 girls; an evaluation in

Box 4.8

IPEC action after the earthquake in Turkey

The devastating earthquake in Turkey in August 1999 had profound eco­nomic and socio-cultural consequences, leading to the emergence of new vul­nerable groups including working children.

An action programme was designed to ensure that child labour was ad­dressed within the framework of the overall development activities of the earth­quake-affected areas. The programme focuses mainly on the prevention and rehabilitation of working street children through primary schooling and special after-school centres. The Ministry of Education (MONE) made special provision for the placement of working children into primary schools. The school expenses of the children are met by MONE. To date, 1,500 working children have been placed into the primary education system. The programme emphasizes retention as well as enrolment, and a monitoring and education support programme is in place to ensure retention and educational performance.

Children attending primary school are brought to after-school centres for educational support. In order to withdraw children totally from work and prevent the expected increase in the number of children working during the summer holidays, the centres have started to plan extensive summer activities.

In parallel, efforts have been made to link individual action programmes to a “multi-sectoral platform” to ensure that a supportive institutional and policy en­vironment is created. Action committees against child labour have been created within the framework of the programme, involving key governmental and non­governmental organizations (NGOs), employers’ and workers’ associations, and universities.

mid-2001 showed the children’s interest to be high. Models are needed of how such training can be provided at a reasonable cost and on a large scale.[29]

Social protection to prevent child labour

  1. Systems of social protection provided by the State or non-state agencies must be carefully designed and implemented to complement rather than to un­dermine existing forms of resource transfer through family, community, kin or religious group. As can be seen, informal social protection can have powerful benefits in terms of strengthening social capital, social cohesion and govern­ance.

Innovative approaches 342. Families need income security and social benefits, such as health insur- to social protection ance, in order to survive in the short term and plan for the long term, and par­ticularly to be able to view investment in schooling as a viable option for their children. [30] Micro-insurance schemes, organized by civil society groups at the local level can be linked into larger structures, such as banks and credit schemes; the State can help by providing start-up funds, matching workers’ contributions and developing a supportive legislative and regulatory framework.[31] Self-help groups can provide assistance through cooperatives, mutual benefit societies and burial societies that are usually financed by beneficiary contributions.

  1. The ILO STEP (Strategies and Tools against social Exclusion and Pov­erty) programme, together with IPEC, is providing services that enable com­munity-based groups to develop their own social protection schemes.[32] For example, in the United Republic of Tanzania, STEP has a joint project with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to increase access to qual­ity health care through micro-insurance schemes. In Bangladesh, similar work is under way with the Grameen Bank and the Bangladesh Rural Ad­vancement Committee; this project also addresses employment creation for poor rural women.[33]
  2. Integrated approaches offer the best way forward. The ILO is working to­wards a wider vision of social security for all workers, which will include housing and food security, child education benefits, medical care, family benefits, and support in times of sickness, unemployment, invalidity, old age and death. This broader view addresses many of the shocks to family income that are known to result in child labour.[34]
  3. The HIV/AIDS pandemic presents a huge challenge for social protec­tion; appropriate ways of supporting children are needed so that they do not become victims of child labour (see box 4.9).
  4. Development of economic alternatives for adult family members is another key component in a broad vision of social protection to combat child labour. Small enterprise development and productivity improvement can help increase family income and hence reduce the need for children to work. There is a vast amount of experience in this field, which must be reflected in the design of new project interventions.[35] For example, ways must be found to en­sure that small businesses set up using microfinance facilities do not inadvert­ently increase demand for child labour, either directly by drawing them into the production process, or indirectly by increasing the need for a child to un­dertake household chores when his/her mother is away working.
  5. In Bangladesh and the United Republic of Tanzania, the ILO Gen­der Promotion Programme (GENPROM), in collaboration with IPEC, is exam­ining the relationship between women’s employment and child labour to see how an increase in the former can most effectively lead to a reduction in the latter. Microfinance must be integrated with other community empowerment interventions. Ways are needed to combine financial with non-financial ser­vices in a sustainable way, and in line with good practice in the provision of such services, which increasingly looks to “market-led” rather than “welfare” approaches, including for the poorest client groups. The impact of loan repay­ment on the availability of family resources to pay for children’s education and care must also be carefully considered.
  6. The InFocus Programme on Boosting Employment through Small Enter­prise Development (SEED) undertakes activities to help parents engaged in income-generating activities to withdraw their children from labour, and to support small and micro-enterprises to improve working conditions and pro­ductivity, and phase out their use of child labour. In El Salvador, the parents of children who work in firework manufacture and on garbage dumps are given access to credit, provided that they withdraw their children from work and send them to school. The credit agency monitors this and its overheads are

Box 4.9

Initiatives to address HIV/AIDS and child labour

Eliminating HIV/AIDS-related discrimination at work takes on particular im­portance for children, protecting them not only from stigmatization but also from the possibility of having to work to replace lost adult earnings. Such issues are be­ing taken up through the ILO programme on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work (ILO/AIDS) and by IPEC. The ILO code of practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work, launched in June 2001, provides guidelines for workers, employers and governments to develop responses at enterprise, community and national levels – including for prevention, caring for workers and their families and removing dis­crimination.

While HIV/AIDS has become the focus of much attention and activity at na­tional and international levels, most governments have only recently begun to ad­dress the effects of the pandemic on child labour. For example, in Africa, some governments have reduced or removed school fees for orphaned children. Usu­ally, such programmes are for all orphaned children, thus avoiding potential stig­ma for those orphaned by AIDS. Little has yet been done to implement specific policies to reduce the likelihood of them being drawn into child labour.

So far, NGOs have tended to take the lead in undertaking direct service pro­grammes, seeking to fill some of the gaps in children’s lives as a result of the death of a parent. Responses that are being tested include the provision of flexible schooling, creation of funds to pay school fees of orphans, micro-savings/micro­credit initiatives to help cover the education expenses of children and training pro­grammes directed at young workers. Child victims of commercial sexual exploitation require particularly urgent assistance with respect to HIV/AIDS.

paid out of the interest generated on the loans. Assistance is provided to par­ents to find employment and vocational training.

Useful ILO tools 349. SEED highlights the important role that generation of quality jobs for available adults in small and micro-enterprises can play in creating sustainable alter­natives to child labour. There are many ILO tools already available to support such work – including Start and Improve Your Business, Grassroots Manage­ment Training, and Women’s Entrepreneurship Development. Useful tools have also been produced to enhance productivity in small enterprises (Im­prove your Working Environment and Business and Work Improvements in Small Enterprises), which can also contribute to creation and maintenance of child-labour-free workplaces. Such tools can be adapted for use in different situ-ations; follow-up with trainees is essential to support them and to see the impact of the training, including whether, indeed, children have benefited as a result.

Rescue and rehabilitation

  1. Children in the worst forms of child labour need urgent action for rescue and rehabilitation. Measures used to withdraw children from hazardous work and other worst forms range from persuasion (through dialogue with parents, children, employers or law enforcement authorities) to more radical “rescue” operations. Experience shows that community-based, integrated solutions tailored to the specific needs of each target group, with close community par­ticipation, are the most effective. Alongside action to rescue child victims of the worst forms of labour, a holistic approach is needed that attacks underly­ing family poverty through long-term solutions, including access to land, housing and economic opportunities. Although cultural perceptions of long-standing practices can limit success initially, even these can be overcome by painstaking work.
  1. In Nepal, children who were bonded labourers under the kamaiya sys­tem prevalent in the western part of the country were targeted in an IPEC pro­gramme that built a broad alliance between government, employers, workers and NGOs. It combined legislative reform, enforcement mechanisms, policy development, direct support, alternative economic opportunities and union­ization of adult workers. Working children were mainstreamed into formal schools and their families provided with microfinancing through credit/sav­ings groups. Parents were persuaded to remove their children from bonded labour, through village-based awareness raising. Following the decree by the Government of Nepal in July 2000, making the kamaiya system illegal, a joint Declaration-IPEC project was launched. It continues to support local part­ners in a wide variety of ways, to ensure that former adult and child bonded labourers do not fall back into exploitative labour relationships but secure sustainable alternative livelihoods and that children benefit from educational and other support.
  2. In the carpet-weaving industry in Pakistan, the Bunyad Literacy Com­munity Council (BLCC) in Punjab, with the Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (PCMEA), set up the training and education for carpet-weaving children as a community-based rehabilitation and prevention programme, which encouraged awareness and participation of community members in a range of project activities aimed at improving the situation of child carpet-weavers, including counselling, non-formal education, recre­ation, health and safety services. Having gradually gained acceptance in the community, social workers were able to advise families on a whole range of work- and child-development-related issues. “Social workers meet family problems head on, motivate the children and their parents, encourage chil­dren not to drop out from classes and help raise awareness of the entire com­munity on the consequences of child labour.”[36] Such sector- or industry- specific initiatives make sense where there is a concentration of children in certain hazardous types of work, although care must be taken to ensure that action in one sector does not simply push children into another, possibly worse, form of work.
  3. Considerable experience has been gained in working with street chil­dren. In Namibia, the Ministry of Health and Social Services is running a pro­gramme that aims to take homeless children off the street by placing them in shelters until they can enter vocational training or other appropriate facilities. Their parents or guardians are offered income-generating assistance. In Haiti, the Government Action Plan provides for the social rehabilitation of street children using functional literacy programmes and canteens providing one hot meal per day. The plan also emphasizes the reorganization and exten­sion of the social welfare system in favour of the most vulnerable groups.
  4. IPEC-GENPROM strategies to combat trafficking in the Greater Mekong subregion include direct assistance, counselling, repatriation and family re­integration, advocacy, capacity building and the enhancement and enforce­ment of legislation at country level and through bilateral and subregional agreements. The project takes care to ensure that activities are locally rele­vant. Interventions are designed by local implementing agencies in consulta­tion with target families. Income-generating schemes designed to prevent trafficking are based on analyses of local market needs and informal educa­tion materials are grounded in local cultural understanding. The project has

sought to avoid top-down planning, even in countries where this might be ex­pected by the government, through the use of participatory approaches.

  1. Particularly sensitive approaches are needed for children who have been sexually exploited. In Nepal, IPEC has developed an approach to the rehab­ilitation of children and adolescents rescued from commercial sexual exploi­tation. Children who are kept in remand homes and police custody after being rescued must be protected from further abuse, and ways found to spare them the trauma of court appearances. Therapy and counselling must be child cen­tred and non-judgemental. Training should contribute to self-esteem and pro­vide marketable skills that will effectively counter the lure of income available through prostitution (see table 9).
  2. IPEC’s thematic evaluation on trafficking and commercial sexual ex­ploitation of children[37] pointed to lessons learned from work in this area, in­cluding the need to intervene in the source areas to interrupt the flow of child labourers, to build coalitions with law enforcement agencies to change atti­tudes that seek to punish victims rather than violators, and to target awareness raising at specific groups, such as the police in border areas or men in areas where prostitution is concentrated. The evaluation also highlighted ap­proaches that have not been successful, for example, prevention programmes that do not simultaneously tackle demand for prostitution, programmes that do not include health aspects (disease prevention, health education and birth control), running institutional homes and lengthy psychotherapy for victims, and projects focusing on traditional forms of prostitution such as in streets, bars and brothels, while ignoring other forms that proliferate elsewhere.
  3. Increasing experience exists with prevention and rescue of child domes­tic workers, despite the difficulties of access to this group (see also box 4.10). For example, in rural areas of the United Republic of Tanzania certain poverty-stricken areas are well-known sources of child domestic workers. The Conservation, Hotels, Domestic and Allied Workers’ Union undertook an in­tegrated package of activities with IPEC support. The project began with awareness raising and social mobilization in five villages, through radio broadcasts, community seminars, newspaper articles and brochures in Kiswahili, as well as public meetings on child labour. Child labour commit­tees were formed and trained on how to address child labour in the commu-

Table 9. IPEC’s approach to the rehabilitation of children and adolescents in Nepal


Focus on the potential of the survivors
Focus on confidence-building measures in the first stabilizing period
Focus on re-establishing trustworthy human relationships

Focus on development of individual action plans for sustainable rehabilitation
(based on a mix of individual and group counselling)

Adolescents Younger children
■      Focus on developing the economic potential leading to economic independence of youth/adolescents

■      Focus on developing multiple life scenarios for post­rehabilitation, establishing support networks/live-in collectives among youth

  ■      Focus on involvement of families before reunion takes place

■      Focus on finding viable alternatives to family reunion, such as fostering

■      Mainstream into education through transitional education programmes

Source: IPEC: Supporting the Time-Bound Programme in Nepal (Geneva, ILO, 2001), p. 21.

Box 4.10

Domestic workers in the Philippines – strength through organizing

Samahan at Ugnayan ng mga Manggagawang Pantahanan (SUMAPI) is an organization of domestic workers, including child domestic workers. SUMAPI was organized through the initiative of another NGO, the Visayan Forum Foundation which, in turn, has collaborated with IPEC. SUMAPI has been an important chan­nel for domestic workers to develop their social and economic skills as well as to advocate for their rights. It assists in organizing core groups and chapters of child domestic worker organizations that provide for meaningful participation of chil­dren in the planning and delivery of peer services, as well as in advocacy of the child domestic worker agenda.

nity, formulate by-laws and carry out censuses. A revolving fund was established for very poor households so that they could begin small-scale businesses, for which they were provided with training in entrepreneurial skills.72 In Kenya, the African Network for Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) has been involved, with IPEC support, in school-based income generation as a means of preventing children entering domestic work. The funds generated are used to help children in a variety of ways, determined by the communities concerned, with support from ANPP- CAN. IPEC has evaluated these experiences together with others in Kenya, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania.73

  1. Experience shows that community-based strategies are cost-effective and sustainable in the long run, but require time-consuming facilitation, sup­port and follow-up by the implementing agency. Other findings are that school-based income generation can be effective; and that attempts to reunite child domestic workers with their families are not always advisable. Overall, the evalu-ation emphasized the need for a strategic and integrated approach by IPEC. It encouraged IPEC to take up a networking role to strengthen links between organizations. This challenge is being taken up by IPEC through a global, multi-partner initiative to combat child domestic labour involving, in addition to ILO constituens, Anti-Slavery International, Save the Children Fund (UK) and UNICEF. The programme is active in selected countries in Af­rica, Central and South America and Asia, with financial support from several donors.

How to tackle hazardous work

  1. The problem of hazardous work has been a priority of IPEC since the pro­gramme began. In 1996-97, some two-thirds of IPEC’s 700 action pro­grammes in 20 participating countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America targeted children in hazardous work and hazardous working conditions. The challenges of tackling these forms of child labour were recognized early on: the difficulty in identifying and locating the children, the lack of precise and universal definitions of what constitutes hazardous work and the need to find appropriate partners to work with these children.74 [38] [39] [40]

Removing workplace 360. While knowledge in this area is far from complete, enough is known to hazards act immediately to reduce hazards at work, particularly for children in the 15­17-year age group, as well as for younger children who cannot be immediately removed from work. Such interventions include technological change to re­place the hazardous substance or process, changes to isolate the children from the hazard, training children and adults in what constitutes an occupational hazard, and how to reduce exposure to it. Providing personal protective equip­ment, such as gloves and helmets, is not usually a viable option. Such equip­ment is rarely developed specifically for children; therefore it will not fit, it will be inefficient and uncomfortable and the children will probably not use it reg­ularly, if at all. Medical check-ups should accompany evaluation of workplace hazards, so that the links can be traced and appropriate interventions made. When the hazards cannot be reduced or removed or there cannot be adequate protection, children should be removed immediately from that hazardous envi­ronment. Labour inspection services can play a crucial role in monitoring for hazardous child labour, as well as in its prevention and in more proactive in­terventions for withdrawal and rehabilitation.

  1. In the Dominican Republic, child labour has increased in the cultiva­tion of flowers and vegetables, despite the hazards of pesticide use. Many chil­dren drop out of school, others never attend. Education, together with legal action, monitoring and social mobilization were the main components of a re­cent programme. Children were assessed, given health checks and their fam­ily situation was evaluated. They completed a three-month educational bridging programme during which they received food supplements and med­ical care. Grants were given to help with school clothes and other supplies, and families signed a written agreement to give priority to school attendance, while receiving loans to compensate for loss of income from child work. Se­lected final-year school pupils provided individual help to each of the 374 children from 17 rural communities. The presence of these “promoters” aided active monitoring and demonstrated the value of capitalizing on the strengths and enthusiasm of young people at community level. [41]
  2. IPEC is establishing national, regional/subregional and global networks to address hazardous child labour. These include occupational safety and health specialists and other related groups. Those non-traditional IPEC part­ners that already have knowledge and skills on identifying and reducing haz­ards for adult workers are invited to broaden the scope of their action to children. The first preparatory Asian Network meeting took place in Novem­ber 2001; a pilot project on agriculture, stone-crushing and footwear has started in Indonesia, the Philippines and Research findings and practical solutions are shared between the different countries and institutions in the network. Similar network efforts are under way in anglophone and fran­cophone Africa and in Latin America. The main collaborators include the ILO InFocus Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment, the World Health Organization, the International Commission on Occupational Health and the International Occupational Hygiene Association.
  3. Almost all new projects on hazardous child labour and other worst forms are multi-dimensional, containing project elements that address family pov­erty, education of the child workers and, sometimes, the trauma that they have experienced. For example, the South-East Asia fishing project is working with fishing communities and employers to stop children working on jermals (fish­ing platforms far out at sea) in Children removed from the jermals are placed in shelters where they receive counselling, food and non-formal education, until they can be placed in vocational training programmes.
  4. The seven-country study by IPEC [42] describes a number of good prac­tices in dealing with hazardous work, which do not necessarily involve total withdrawal from work for the older children, for example, offering children al­ternative, safer income-earning opportunities combined with schooling, re­moving the hazard from the production process, providing health checks and services through mobile clinics, setting up “drop-in” centres to strengthen children’s ability to protect themselves through knowledge of their rights, in­volving trade unions to bargain for better working conditions, encouraging community empowerment through organization of village committees and awareness raising, producing training manuals and curricula on hazardous oc­cupations and workplaces for use with government officials, and creation of “rapid response centres”, with government, trade union and NGO involve­ment, empowered to respond immediately to serious child labour violations.
  5. IPEC works with the ILO Social Protection Sector in the field of occupa­tional safety and health. A new edition of a manual on children and hazardous work has been published,[43] joint advice on labour inspection is provided and a network of national institutions to undertake research, training and advisory services concerning children in hazardous work is being jointly developed.

Demobilizing child soldiers

  1. The Report of the expert of the United Nations Secretary-General, Ms. Graga Machel, submitted to the General Assembly, recommended that ILO standards, in areas such as vocational rehabilitation, the employment of dis­abled persons, special youth employment and training schemes and human resource development, should form the basis of innovative rehabilitation and social integration programmes for adolescents in post-conflict situations, es­pecially for former child soldiers, children with disabilities and children who have missed educational opportunities.[44] Following the adoption of Conven­tion No.182, the ILO InFocus Programme on Crisis Response and Recon­struction strengthened its work on child soldiers. For example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo the ILO has been collaborating with UNICEF and the World Bank on the demobilization of child soldiers. The process starts with a rapid assessment and national workshops to develop a common policy framework. Reintegration of child soldiers requires at least three to five years of committed resources for family reunification, psycholog­ical support, education and income-generating opportunities. The ILO is now collaborating with other partners to test a number of new approaches; the first phase of a regional project in the Great Lakes area of Africa is already under way.
  2. Children in the 14-18 age group are provided with vocational training, on-the-job training and enterprise development assistance. Former child sol­diers are typically semi-literate, lack skills for the labour market or even for agricultural work and have few material assets or kinship links to give them access to these. Nevertheless, they may also have built up social and financial capital during the war, including looted property and personal contacts, which might help them set up enterprises in the informal economy. Improved socio­economic conditions encourage young soldiers to demobilize but they are likely to be more interested in work than in schooling.[45] They need education opportunities with flexible hours and an emphasis on literacy, numeracy and life skills, such as nutrition, sexual health and managing finance. In post-con­flict El Salvador, apprenticeships and micro-enterprise support “proved to be more effective than vocational training schemes in urban areas because they provided a more immediate way of acquiring skills and income. They also helped bring at least some economic activity to more rural and isolated locations”.[46]

Legislation, enforcement and monitoring of child labour

  1. For legislation on children’s rights in general, and child labour in partic­ular, to have an effect, people in all walks of life must know about it, including children and their families, government officials, parliamentarians, employers and employers’ organizations, human rights institutions, community organiza­tions, the media, and others. Legal literacy and education must be adapted to the needs of the particular audience.
  2. The ILO has supported a range of interventions with respect to improving legal and policy frameworks, awareness and law enforcement. These include law reform, translation of domestic laws into local dialects and languages and para-legal education for community groups and provision of legal services to child labour victims. Some “good practices” identified in country programmes include the passing of local ordinances and by-laws that make it possible to monitor child labour directly in communities, capitalizing on external events (for example, adoption of international instruments) to bring about domestic policy change, NGOs or trade unions contributing to the law-drafting process and keeping the child labour issue on the public agenda so as to increase the commitment of political leaders.
  3. Considerable effort has gone into capacity building of labour inspectors (see box 4.11 on Kenyan and Bulgarian experiences). Practical training materials, focusing on the particular inspection issues relating to child labour, have been developed by the ILO for adaptation and use in many countries, in­cluding for a subregional programme in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.
  4. The role of labour inspectors goes well beyond that of law enforcer. La­bour inspectors can spread awareness about the consequences of child labour, work with employers to improve the situation and work with trade unions or NGOs to ensure that children withdrawn from work receive appropriate sup­port and rehabilitation. Other good practices include quality circles whereby labour ins pectors use non-confrontational methods to assist employers to carry out self-inspection, inspection groups affiliated with trade unions in workplaces with few employees, labour inspectors being involved in research to increase their understanding of child labour and labour inspectors being encouraged to use the information gained through their field studies to train their colleagues. Mobile inspection units can prove useful where child labour is found in remote and isolated regions of the country (see box 4.12).
  5. The effectiveness of government labour inspection in detecting and com­bating child labour is often constrained by the resources available, which are not equal to the task, by perceptions of their role and by the hidden nature of much child labour, especially its worst forms, in informal and illegal activities. New approaches and partnerships are clearly needed for an integrated solution to child labour monitoring. Different models have already been developed and tested. In addition to the BGMEA model presented earlier (box 4.2), the

Box 4.11

Improving labour inspection services

The Kenyan Tripartite Labour Inspection Project concentrated on strength­ening the organization and management of the Labour Inspectorate, upgrading its operations and raising the numbers and quality of inspections.

Inspection emphasized the importance of cooperating with worker repre­sentatives, of holistic monitoring which “mainstreamed” child labour issues in labour inspection reports and of determined follow-up. Meetings were held with employers to discuss infringements, prioritizing the most important ones. The numbers of inspection visits vastly increased during the project and have since been sustained, in spite of external funds no longer being available. The Kenya Labour Department is still undertaking some 20,000 inspections annually. Suc­cess factors included full publicity of activities and results within and outside the service, tripartite project management structures, participation and empower­ment of all inspection staff, and extensive training programmes.

The Bulgaria Training for Integrated Labour Inspection project aims to re­form the traditional, Soviet-style system of labour inspection in Bulgaria, by im­proving the efficiency of labour inspectors and establishing a training centre. The Government (Ministries of Labour and Health) and the social partners developed and implemented a National Policy for Integrated Labour Inspection, on the basis of “one enterprise – one inspector”. A new concept for training and capacity building was developed. Training modules include social skills, occupational hy­giene, technical safety, labour law and labour relations, preventive inspection methods, social dialogue and tripartite cooperation. The ILO plans to hold a re­gional meeting for managers of inspection systems from accession candidate countries and economies in transition, to present and draw lessons from the suc­cessful Bulgarian experience.

Source: W. von Richthofen: Labour inspection as an actor in the global battle against child labour: Complexities and chances (Geneva, ILO, 2002).

Sialkot soccer-ball project in Pakistan is perhaps the other best-known ex­ample. It illustrates well the complexity of such integrated approaches to re­moving children from an entire sector in a poor area of Pakistan (see box 4.13). The overriding lesson is that monitoring and enforcement alone will not solve the problem; an integrated package of measures needs to be put in place.

  1. Most recently, work supported by the ILO in the garment sector in Cam­bodia, has confirmed that neither child labour nor forced labour exists in the factories investigated, although it did uncover some problems relating to other

Box 4.12

Brazil can point to successes in its fight against child labour

The Ministry of Labour coordinates a new special mobile child labour in­spection unit that involves the Ministry of the Interior and the federal police. Re­sults have been encouraging. For example, inspections carried out in the Amazon State of Para, an agricultural region, indicate a decline in the incidence of child labour of 28 per cent in 2001.

The Ministry of Labour, the State Secretariat for Social Assistance and IPEC work together in a special programme to combat the worst forms of child labour throughout the country through improvement in families’ livelihoods and chil­dren’s education. Well over 800,000 children are expected to benefit from this programme by the end of 2002.

Box 4.13

Sialkot: Eliminating child labour in soccer-ball stitching

Until the 1970s, soccer-ball stitching in Sialkot, Pakistan, took place in city- based factories using regular employees. Then, owing to economic pressures, manufacturers began to decentralize into a home-based production system, and children became involved.

International pressure to stop the use of child labour in this industry mount­ed in the mid-1990s. The International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) introduced a Code of Labour Practice banning the use of the official FIFA stamp on footballs made using child labour. In response, in 1997, the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed a Partners’ Agreement in Atlanta, Georgia, with the ILO and UNICEF for a joint project to stop children younger than 14 working in the industry. The “Atlanta Agreement” provided for:

  • shifting production from homes to stitching centres that could be moni­tored;
  • identification and withdrawal of child workers;
  • an internal, industry-based monitoring system;
  • an external verification system implemented by IPEC monitoring teams;
  • a social protection and rehabilitation programme for children and their fa­milies;
  • enrolment of children in primary schools.

Also working in this process are Save the Children (UK) and a local NGO, the Bunyad Literacy Community Council. The project provides health services, non-formal education, vocational training and micro-credit and savings schemes for the children and their families, and works with communities to facilitate changes in attitudes to child labour. By 2000, around 6,000 children were at­tending education centres and IPEC was monitoring production in 1,800 stitching centres.

Despite the successes of the programme, challenges still remain. Some children still work for manufacturers that do not participate in the programme. Subcontractors remain beyond the reach of the programme. Women who were not able to go to the new stitching centres have lost part of their income so addi­tional steps are needed to maintain family incomes, and continued efforts are needed to promote other workers’ rights in the industry.

working conditions. The tripartite Project Advisory Committee welcomed the first report, and the contribution the project was making to improving overall respect for workers’ rights in that country.[47]

What makes for effective assistance

  1. One of the purposes of this Report is “to serve as a basis for assessing the effectiveness of the assistance provided by the Organization”. What light does this review shed on the question of what constitutes “effective” assist­ance?
  2. This review illustrates the tremendous variety of approaches that can be used, matching the diversity of situations in which child labourers toil. Some key themes that emerge are:
  • Good programmes combine long- and short-term approaches. They respond to the immediate needs of child labourers but are firmly embedded in a long-term, poverty reduction and rights-based perspective.
  • Good programmes are holistic (with multiple components), are adapted to local realities and are owned by local partners and participants.
  • Good programmes use a range of tools and approaches in flexible and innovative ways.
  • Good programmes put children first: they focus on children as well as on the work they perform.
  • Good programmes take information gathering, analysis and use seriously throughout their life.

[1]   See www.endchildlabour.org/3conf.html

[2]   International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM): Update No. 87 (2001).

[3]   General Council of the International Organisation of Employers, resolution on child labour, 73rd Or­dinary Session, 3 June 1996.

[4]   International Organisation of Employers: Employers’ handbook on child labour: A guidefor taking ac­tion (Geneva, International Organisation of Employers, 2001).

[5]   ibid., p. 2.

[6]   Governing Body doc. GB.273/SDL/1, para. 54. It is to be noted that this survey was carried out before the adoption of Convention No. 182.

[7]   A. Tucker: “Strategies for employers and their organizations”, in N. Haspels and M. Jankanish (eds.): Action against child labour (Geneva, ILO, 2000), p. 223.

[8]   See www.ifc.org/enviro/enviro/childlabor/child.htm

[9]   United States General Accounting Office: Defense management: Industry practices can help military exchanges better assure that their goods are not made by child or forced labor, Report to Congressional Requesters (GAO-02-256, 2002), see www.gao.gov/new.items/d02256.pdf

[10]  ILO: Child labour in tourism on the Kenyan coast (Geneva, 2000).

[11] See www.icftu.org/focus.asp?Issue=youth&Language=EN

[12] ICFTU submission to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children, June 2001. See also ILO: Report of the Seventh Session of the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Ap­plication of the Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (CEART), International Labour Conference, 89th Session, Geneva, 2001, Provisional Record No. 19, pp. 40-45.

[13]  See www.focalpointngo.org/yokohama/presskit/mediaguidelines.htm

[14]  Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Do­minican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jor­dan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

[15]  ILO: Trade unions and the global economy: An unfinished story, Background paper for the Interna­tional Symposium to Strengthen Workers’ Participation in the United Nations System and Impact on the Bretton Woods Institutions, Geneva, 24-28 Sep. 2001.

[16]  ILO: Child labour: A briefing manual (Geneva, ILO, 1986), p. 42.

[17]  See, for example, Save the Children Alliance: United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child training kit (London, Save the Children (UK), 1997).

[18]  A. Swift: Working children get organised (London, International Save the Children Alliance, 1999).

[19]  L. Lavinas: The appeal of minimum income programmes in Latin America (Geneva, ILO, 2001).

[20] Research was conducted in 1997-98 in seven countries where IPEC has been operational (Brazil, In­donesia, Kenya, the Philippines, the United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand and Turkey). A synthesis report is available: IPEC: Good practices in action against child labour (Geneva, ILO, 2001).

[21]  Information received from the Government of Germany in response to the questions raised by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in document E/C.12/Q/GER.2.

[22] N. Haspels et al.: Action against child labour: Strategies in education (Geneva, ILO, 1999).

[23] United States Department of Labor: By the sweat and toil of children. Vol. V. Efforts to eliminate child labour (Washington, DC, United States Department of Labor, 1998), Ch. 4.

[24] ILO: Review of annual reports under the Declaration. Part II (Geneva, 2002), report of the Govern­ment of Mexico, pp. 421-426.

[25]  ILO: Child labour: Targeting the intolerable, op. cit., pp. 106-7.

[26]  United States Department of Labor: By the sweat and toil of children, op. cit., Ch. 4.

[27]  IPEC: Project document: Supporting the Time-Bound Programme on the worst forms of child labour in the United Republic of Tanzania (Geneva, ILO, 2002), p. 5.

[28]  W. Grubb and P. Ryan: The roles of evaluation for vocational education and training: Plain talk on the field of dreams (Geneva, ILO, 1999).

[29]  IPEC: Evaluation report: Combating child labour through education and training in Peshawar/Paki­stan (PAK/98/MO2/SDC) (Geneva, ILO, 2001).

[30] ILO: Social security: Issues, challenges and prospects, op. cit., p. 21.

[31]  ibid., p. 32.

[32]  ILO: STEP: Strategies and tools against social exclusion and poverty (Geneva, ILO, 1999).

[33]  IPEC: Project document: Supporting the Time-Bound Programme on the worst forms of child labour in the United Republic of Tanzania (Geneva, ILO, 2001), p. 19.

[34]  ILO: Social security: Issues, challenges and prospects, op. cit., p. 8.

[35]  Income-generation components of projects supported by IPEC are soon to be the subject of a thematic evaluation.

[36]  IPEC: Action against child labour: Lessons and strategic priorities for the future: A synthesis report (Ge­neva, ILO, 1997).

[37] IPEC: Action against trafficking and sexual exploitation of children: Going where the children are … (Geneva, ILO, 2001). The evaluation covered programmes in Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Thailand.

[38]  ILO: Papers prepared for the United States Department of Labor and International Labour Organiza­tion Conference, Advancing the Global Campaign Against Child Labor: Progress Made and Future Ac­tions, 17-18 May, Washington, DC, 2000.

[39]  IPEC: Thematic evaluation on IPEC interventions: Child domestic labour, Draft report (Geneva, ILO, 2001).

[40]  Governing Body doc. GB.271/TC/2, p. 13.

[41] ILO: Papers prepared for the United States Department of Labor and International Labour Organiza­tion Conference, op. cit.

[42] IPEC: Good practices in action against child labour: A synthesis report of seven country studies, op. cit.

[43] V. Forastieri: Children at work: Health and safety risks, 2nd ed. (Geneva, ILO, 2002).

[44] United Nations: Promotion and protection of the rights of children, op. cit., para. 301.

[45]  Global Information Networks in Education (GINIE)/UNESCO/UNICEF: Child and young adult sol­diers: Recruitment prevention, demobilization and reintegration, see www.ginie.org/ginie-crisis-links/ childsoldiers/recruitment.html

[46]  UNICEF: The demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers: Lessons learned from Angola and El Salvador, Draft paper (New York, UNICEF, 2000), p. 21.

[47] The report, First synthesis report on the working conditions situation in Cambodia’ garment sector, and the Project Advisory Committee’s statement, can be accessed at www.ilo.org/public/english/dia- logue/cambodia.htm