This brief, prepared by the ILO, seeks to raise awareness on the root causes of child labour.

Key findings:

  • Increased efforts to eliminate child labour have yielded remarkable results in recent decades. However, the global progress against child labour has stalled for the first time in two decades and, without mitigation measures, the COVID-19 crisis is likely to push millions more children into child labour. Now more than ever, businesses – national and multinational, small, medium and large – have a critical role to play in tackling child labour and addressing its root causes.
  • By highlighting the relevant recommendations of the Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration), this guidance note aims to promote more comprehensive strategies and actions that businesses operating all over the world can take in a holistic approach to the elimination of child labour and its root causes.
  • In their corporate policies and commitments to fight against and eliminate child labour, many companies refer to international labour standards set by the International Labour Organization, and more specifically the 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, that calls on all actors to contribute to the realization of freedom of association and collective bargaining, non-discrimination, and elimination of child labour and forced labour.
  • The MNE Declaration strengthens this action by all actors on the realization of these fundamental principles and rights at work by providing guidance to governments and enterprises on the broader realization of decent work, which is needed to address the root causes of child labour.