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Dirty hands of a child labourer, palms facing upwards

World Day Against Child Labour

Sajal is one of 79 million children engaged in hazardous work.

Today, it's estimated that 160 million children are engaged in some form of child labour. That's almost 1 in 10 children around the world who are missing out on education and facing exploitation.

World Day Against Child Labour raises awareness of the need to eradicate child labour in all its forms. Keep reading to learn more about this important day and how you can support World Vision's work to protect vulnerable children.

When is World Day Against Child Labour?

World Day Against Child Labour is on Wednesday 12 June 2024.

This year marks the 25 year anniversary of the adoption of the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention. The Convention was established on 1 June 1999 to recognise the causes of child labour and find solutions to eliminate its worst forms.

What is World Day Against Child Labour?

World Day Against Child Labour is an opportunity to highlight the reality of life for millions of children who are engaged in child labour. Some of the worst forms of child labour include illicit activities like child slavery, sexual exploitation, child trafficking and hazardous work that put children at risk of death, injury or disease.

Did you know that child labour is on the increase? More than 1 in 5 children are engaged in child labour in low-income countries.

Kenyan teenager silhouette looking out window
Adolescent girls are most at risk of sexual exploitation, including trafficking for prostitution.

What is the World Day Against Child Labour 2024 theme?

This year's World Day Against Child Labour theme is "Let's act on our commitments: End Child Labour!"

This theme brings attention to the Sustainable Development Goal 8.7, which aims to eliminate child labour in all its forms by 2025. Since the adoption of the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention in 1999, significant strides have been made to protect children from exploitation, but recent years have seen the trend reverse.

Since the global pandemic, the number of children in child labour has increased by 8.4 million children in the last four years. The first increase in two decades.

Sajal's story: Dreams shattered by child labour

“The work I do at the workshop is very painful,” says Sajal*. “I often get cuts and bruises on my hands and I have to lift very heavy machinery.”  

14-year-old Sajal once dreamed of becoming a doctor, but this dream no longer seems within reach.  

Sajal lives in a remote village in northern Bangladesh with his parents and younger sister. His father works as a day labourer while his mother looks after the house.  

*Name changed to protect his identity.

Boy from Bangladesh working on a motorcycle repair
Sanjal working at a motorcycle repair shop.

“I will starve if I don’t work” 

Last year, Sajal’s family began struggling financially and couldn’t afford to send him to school. Then things got even worse and Sajal needed to get a job. He now works 12 hours a day at a motorcycle repair shop, making the equivalent of £11 a month.  

“I don’t want to work here,” Sajal says, “but I will starve if I don’t work. The kids I used to go to school with now bully me sometimes. They tell me that I don’t belong with them anymore now that I have to work while they get to go to school.” 

Sajal is one of millions of children who are missing out on an education and become involved in child labour. The International Labour Organization defines child labour as doing work that deprives them of their dignity, childhood, and is “harmful to... physical and mental development". 

World Vision has been working in Sajal's community since 2009, improving child wellbeing and increasing families' livelihoods. But, especially since the pandemic, child labour is still a problem in the community. 

Together we can fight against child exploitation 

As a children's charity, World Vision works with communities to ensure children are protected. From mobilising communities to educate children on their rights, to supporting family incomes and improving food security.

With your support, we can work towards the elimination of child labour. We help parents and communities to see that children, like Sajal, are protected and that their futures are not stolen by labour exploitation.  

Learn more about our work to protect children

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