This year’s World Day Against Child Labour had the central theme of the issue's impact in supply chains.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO), which organises the annual event, said 168m children globally are victims of child labour, which it said was a risk for supply chains in every industry.
ILO director general Guy Ryder said: “Child labour has no place in well-functioning and well regulated markets, or in any supply chain. Acting together, it is within our means to make the future of work a future without child labour.”
Leaders across the globe backed Sunday's event and in Nigeria Fatima Kakuri, special assistant to the senate president, said this year’s theme was “both apt and significant as we reflect on the particular challenges that our nation faces”.
She went on to say the senate recognised that “millions of our children are trapped in child labour, hawking on our streets, working under appalling inhuman conditions in small informal sector enterprises instead of being in school”.
But she added that the Nigerian senate is “concerned and committed to putting an end to child labour”.
Jamaican minister of labour and social security Shahine Robinson used the day to called upon all businesses “to take that extra effort to verify that all their supply chain operations and linkages, whether local, regional or international, are free of any influence of or contact with child labour, in any form”.
Robinson acknowledged most businesses in Jamaica do not intentionally employ child labour in their supply chains, but said Jamaican businesses should “assume a more aggressive stance in ensuring that... those with whom they have business dealings, not only share our values, commitment to ethical business practices and labour standards, but, do not engage in the employment of children under age 18 years old”.
In Ghana Baba Jamal, the deputy minister for employment and labour relations, used the country’s World Day Against Child Labour event to announce a review of the country’s national plan on child labour.
A government statement said Jamal noted “effective action required collaboration between government and agencies, including labour inspectorates, national social partners, business and workers’ representatives in enterprises”.
The World Day Against Child Labour was first organised by the ILO in 2002 to focus attention on the issue.
Beate Andrees, chief of the ILO’s fundamental principles and rights at work branch, said: “With globalisation, supply chains have become increasingly complex, involving workers, small producers and enterprises around the world. Ending child labour in this context is everyone’s business.”