CHILD SLAVERY: Call to put child slavery on agenda of UN Sustainable Development Goals

End Child Slavery Week Petition

The End Child Slavery Week, joint initiative by organisations calls on you to sign their petition to end child slavery:

If you do not raise your voice now, these children will lose an opportunity for a life. Help change their destiny. Sign the petition today to end child slavery! 

Child slavery today is at an all-time high. 26% of slaves today are children under 18 years, with some being as young as five. Forced to work for upto 18 hours a day, these children are sold at prices less than even that of cattle.

End Child Slavery believes that the petition has the power to end the abominable crime of child slavery that violates every basic human right and destroys the well-being of future generations.

The petition will be hand delivered to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and has the power to put child slavery on the UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda for the next 15 years.

Petition Text

Petition to UN Secretary General

Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary General
New York

Dear Secretary-General,

We write as a group of civil society organisations that have been working independently and collectively for many years in order to end child labour and child slavery in the world.

We welcome sub-goal 8.7 of the “Outcome Document” of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, which represents the international community’s crucial recognition that child labour and contemporary slavery hinder the efforts of people to work their way out of poverty.

However, we urge a slight amendment of the sub-goal in terms of re-arranging the existing text to make it simpler and clearer, while at the same time placing an emphasis on “child slavery”. As such, sub-goal 8.7 would read as follows:     

“Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour including recruitment and use of child soldiers and child slavery, and, by 2025, end child labour in all its forms”

We believe that it is important to include in the text explicit reference to the issue of child slavery to give visibility to and to affect impact on the most neglected, exploited and hard-to-reach category of children engaged in child labour. The 1956 Convention on Slavery and the relevant ILO instruments on forced labour and child labour define forms of forced labour and contemporary slavery of adults and children, including in debt bondage. The 1956 Supplementary Convention includes in its definition of child slavery the handing over of a child with a view to exploitation of the child or his or her labour. This reflects the serious level of exploitation and violence involved in child slavery, undertaken by third parties.

Hence, child slavery needs specific attention as a development challenge. Since 2005, the estimates that child slavery has stayed stubbornly at the level of around 5.5 million children, suggesting that whatever approaches have been used to eliminate child labour have been wholly insufficient in reducing child slavery. 

Without attention to the issue of child slavery, the Sustainable Development Goals to reduce poverty and violence, including with regard to child soldiers, and to advance education and health goals will be compromised.

We hope you will recognise that though the amendments we request are small they are also vital to help focus the attention of the international development community on the importance of the elimination of child labour and child slavery in the broader struggle against poverty.



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