UN Ratifies First Unanimous Treaty on Child Labor

A global treaty sponsored by the U.N. International Labor Organization (ILO) calling for greater protection for children against sexual exploitation, forced labor and armed conflict was signed Tuesday by all member nations in the international forum.

Tonga, an island nation located in the Pacific, approved the treaty this week, making it the first U.N. labor treaty ratified by all 187 members. Ratified treaties are legally binding on all signatory governments.

“Universal ratification … is (a) historic first that means that all children now have legal protection against the worst forms of child labor,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said.
“It reflects a global commitment that the worst forms of child labor, such as slavery, sexual exploitation, the use of children in armed conflict or other illicit or hazardous work … have no place in our society,” he said in a statement.

According to the ILO, the number of child laborers plummeted to 152 million children in recent years, a sharp decline from its previous peak 20 years ago of 246 million. Most child workers are employed in the agricultural sector, and 73 million are placed in dangerous conditions while working.




© Article: VOA News – Image: Reuters