[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 12 June 2006, 04:28 GMT 05:28 UK
'Red card' given to child labour
By Imogen Foulkes
BBC News, Geneva

A man stitches a football in Sialkot, Pakistan, a city once infamous for the prevalence of child labourers
Campaigns forced football firms in Pakistan to stop hiring children
Child labour must end for good, says the International Labour Organization on its World Day Against Child Labour.

The day was launched four years ago to draw attention to the plight of millions of children who work, often in dangerous and difficult conditions.

The ILO, a UN body, recently reported that the number of child labourers was falling for the first time.

With a nod to World Cup fever, it now says it is time to show child labour the "red card".

So events to mark Child Labour Day have a football theme.

Former Cameroon international Roger Milla
Footballer Roger Milla will play in an ILO match

Former Cameroon player Roger Milla will play in an ILO match against local Geneva schools.

In Pakistan, former child labourers will be playing football as part of an ILO programme to raise awareness of children's rights through sport.

It sounds light-hearted, but the message is serious: All children have a right to a normal childhood, but worldwide an estimated 218 million of them are denied it.

Instead they work, often in dangerous environments.


But there is some good news.

218m aged 5-17 in work
126m in hazardous work
Almost 50m work in Africa
122m work in Asia
70% of workers in agriculture
Estimated cost of ending child labour: $760m over 20 years

Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader

This year, for the first time, the ILO says the number of children who work has begun to fall - witness, the organisation says, to an increased political commitment even among the poorest countries to eliminating child labour.

There is special praise for Brazil, Tanzania and Turkey, which have all, the ILO says, made real progress.

And in Pakistan, the ILO has the support of football's governing body Fifa for a campaign to get children out of football manufacturing.

Quite appropriate, then, that to mark Child Labour Day children in Pakistan will be kicking footballs, and not stitching them.

Global child labour figures fall
04 May 06 |  In Depth
Child workers refuse to quit jobs
22 Nov 05 |  South Asia
Cambodian children's salt fields ordeal
13 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
UN urges action on child labour
21 Feb 05 |  South Asia


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific