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close this bookAction Against Child Labour (ILO; 2000; 356 pages)
View the documentPreface
Open this folder and view contents1. National policies and programmes
close this folder2. Towards improved legislation
View the documentINTRODUCTION
View the document2.1 LEGISLATION AND THE FIGHT AGAINST CHILD LABOUR
View the document2.2 SOURCES OF LAW ON CHILD LABOUR
Open this folder and view contents2.3 INTERNATIONAL LABOUR STANDARDS AND NATIONAL LEGISLATION
View the document2.4 NEW INTERNATIONAL LABOUR STANDARDS ON THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOUR
View the document2.5 OTHER INTERNATIONAL TREATIES
View the document2.6 INITIATIVES TO IMPROVE CHILD LABOUR LEGISLATION
View the document2.7 LESSONS LEARNED
View the documentChecklist 2.1 General principles
View the documentChecklist 2.2 Improving national legislation
View the documentChecklist 2.3 Legislation on bonded labour
View the documentChecklist 2.4 Involving employers' and workers' organizations, and others
View the documentAppendix 2.1 ILO Conventions on child labour and forced labour (as at 31 July 1999)
View the documentAppendix 2.2 Minimum ages in ILO Conventions
View the documentAppendix 2.3 Ratification of ILO Conventions on child labour and forced labour (as at 31 August 1999)
View the documentAppendix 2.4 Chart of ratifications of ILO Conventions on child labour and forced labour by country (as at 31 August 1999:
View the documentAppendix 2.5 Excerpts from selected ILO standards on child labour
Open this folder and view contents3. Improving the knowledge base on child labour
Open this folder and view contents4. Alternatives to child labour
Open this folder and view contents5. Strategies to address child slavery
Open this folder and view contents6. Strategies for employers and their organizations
Open this folder and view contents7. Trade unions against child labour
Open this folder and view contents8. Awareness-raising
Open this folder and view contents9. Action by community groups and NGOs
Open this folder and view contents10. Resources on child labour
View the documentOther ILO publications
View the documentBack Cover
 

INTRODUCTION

Legislation has been the single most important response of governments to the problem of child labour. Although insufficient on its own, legislation can be a powerful instrument in combating child labour. It can serve as a deterrent to the economic exploitation of children, being the basis for both preventive measures and punitive action against violators.

Assistance in revising and developing national legislation and drafting rules to facilitate its implementation has been a major and traditional aspect of the ILO's work. This has been reinforced in recent years with assistance from the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) to governments, focused on legislative reform and on improving the enforcement of laws on child labour. For example, assistance has been provided in consolidating and harmonizing disparate laws affecting children, and in expanding the coverage of laws and increasing penalties for offenders, such as for those exploiting children in prostitution and trafficking. In several countries, there are discussions about enlarging the scope of laws to cover the informal sector, strengthen law enforcement, and set up specific judicial bodies to hear cases on child abuse, including child labour.

This chapter outlines the framework for developing or revising national legislation on child labour.1 It can be used to raise awareness on the basic legal protection to be given to children in relation to work, as a reference for conducting reviews of the adequacy of legislation, and to advocate for legislative change. It contains information on international legal standards on child labour, including the new ILO standards on the worst forms of child labour. It gives a number of examples from national legislation and of initiatives to improve national legislation on child labour. Checklists are given on basic considerations for national legislation, for improving national legislation on child and bonded labour, and for involving employers' and workers' organizations. Several appendices provide further information on the ratification of relevant ILO Conventions and minimum ages established in ratifying countries. Excerpts from texts of relevant ILO standards are provided in Appendix 2.5.

1 For a recent overview of national law and practice on child labour, see ILO: Child labour: Targeting the intolerable, Report VI (1), International Labour Conference, 86th Session, 1998 (Geneva, 1996), including legislation applicable to minimum age, forced labour, prostitution, pornography, and the sale and trafficking of children.

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