Brussels – 12 June 2019

A world free from the scourge of exploitative child labour is possible if politicians, businesses and community leaders apply already tried and tested methods to combat it more widely, a new report by Terre des Hommes shows.

What works for working children: Being effective when tackling child labour makes ten recommendations which could help free the 152 million children worldwide from exploitative child labour. This includes the 72 million trapped in the worst forms of child labour, such as being enslaved as domestic servants, mining for minerals or being exposed to dangerous pesticides when farming.

Delphine Moralis, Secretary General of the Terre des Hommes International Federation, said:
“It is unacceptable that over 150 million children are still trapped in exploitative child labour worldwide when we have the ability to free them. These children deserve to play and go to school, not work in mines or be ensnared in domestic slavery.”

“To free these children, we need politicians, businesses and community leaders worldwide to get involved and use the tried and tested methods outlined in our report. Once they get on board, we can make exploitative child labour a thing of the past.”

Terre des Hommes recommends that evidence-based approaches are followed to fight child labour, education is made compulsory for children at a specified age in all countries, working children are empowered to influence policies themselves and children, families and communities are informed about workplace abuse.

Politicians, governments, community leaders and other stakeholders must also support the creation of safer jobs for children carrying out the most dangerous work, provide advice and support for young workers – including those wishing to stay in work – and to systematically protect children in the worst forms of child labour.

Legal channels must be used to challenge child exploitation. Pressure, dialogue, involvement and action by businesses to eradicate exploitative child labour in supply chains must be increased and the separate programmes usually needed to combat child labour must be linked and coordinated.

These changes are crucial if the target of eradicating child labour worldwide by 2025, which was set as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, is to be met.

Currently, even if the current rate of progress is maintained, there will still be around 121 million children working in exploitative child labour in 2025. To stand a chance of meeting this goal, practices like those documented in What works for working children must be applied more numerously across the globe.

For more information, please contact Paul Creeney, Communications Officer, Terre des Hommes, +32 (0) 2 503 64 88,

Notes to Editors
• The Terre des Hommes International Federation is a network for eight organisations with headquarters in seven countries working to protect children, empower young people and engage wider communities in their protection. In 2017, we assisted over ten million people in 67 countries worldwide.
What works for working children is part of a series of reports published by Terre des Hommes on 12 June every year – the World Day Against Child Labour.

Picture: A child washes a car windscreen in Bolivia. ©Florian Kopp/Terre des Hommes