It is a blot on the face of humanity that we have yet to eradicate slavery – of children, no less. Not only does child slavery persist; the number of child slaves, 5.5 million, has remained constant in the last two decades. They are bought and sold like animals, sometimes for less than a pack of cigarettes. Add to their number the 168 million child laborers, 59 million out-of-school children, and 15 million girls under 15 who are forced to marry every year, and the situation is beyond unacceptable.
Eighteen years ago, the Global March Against Child Labour spearheaded a global movement to bring child labor and child slavery to the attention of global leaders. Thanks to the invaluable contribution of fellow activists, workers, educators, and businesses, the campaign was a resounding success, leading to the adoption of the International Labor Organization’s Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention.