2015 World Day Against Child Labor: Education not Exploitation

Press Statement
John Kirby
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 12, 2015

On this World Day Against Child Labor, there is a growing consensus and commitment to ending exploitative child labor around the world. More children are in schools today than ever before, because the international community understands that moving children from the workforce to the schoolhouse is a better way to build thriving societies that respect basic human dignity.

We celebrate our partners in civil society who have so bravely championed the mission to end child labor. This past year the Nobel Committee highlighted the importance of combatting child labor by awarding the Peace Prize to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for their efforts to end the exploitation of children and to bring education to all children regardless of class or gender. Every day our diplomats around the world advocate for basic human rights, and champions from civil society change people’s understanding of what children have the right to expect from the world around them.

The International Labour Organization estimates that 120 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are still involved in child labor. The U.S. Department of State will continue to push for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor with every tool available, including our bilateral and multilateral engagement, technical assistance, reporting, and good offices, though the solution to this challenge ultimately lies in decent work for families, respect for fundamental human rights, and supporting classrooms around the world.

Today, we renew our commitment to civil society and our global partners to stand with you in the defense of the most vulnerable. Educated children are the foundation of a just society.