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International Labour Organization; Netherlands: Conference on Child Labor

(May 11, 2010) On May 10, 2010, a two-day conference opened in The Hague to discuss a campaign to end the worst forms of child labor. The conference's 450 participants from 80 countries have called for these practices to be eliminated by the year 2016. (Global Conference Calls for Renewed Efforts to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labour, May 10, 2010, available at International Labor Organization website,

The conference was sponsored by the Government of the Netherlands, working with the International Labour Organization (ILO), and is focused on discussing developments in the field since the Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour was adopted in 1999. (ILO Convention No. 182, text available from the ILO website, (last visited May 10, 2010).)

The goal of the meeting, according to Piet Hein Donner, the Netherlands' Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, is to “give us renewed energy to tackle the injustice of child labour.” He went on to stress that it is urgent that all countries sign the conventions against child labor and that “vulnerable families … be protected and afforded access to healthcare and social welfare.” Donner added, “[i]t is also necessary for decent jobs that carry a reasonable income to be created for adults. Children must have access to education.” (Global Conference Calls for Renewed Efforts to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor, supra.)

The conference will develop a roadmap toward accomplishing its basic goal. The ILO Executive Director, Kari Tapiola, described the roadmap as a “way forward towards both restoring belief in our 2016 goal and, most importantly, focusing on a set of measures for a balanced and beneficial development of our societies and of their future which, after all, lies in their children.” (Id.)

The ILO has collected data on children at work around the world; the information suggests that child labor declined at the very slow pace of about three percent over the 2004-2008 period. (Id.)