Child Soldiers and the Law
Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999
Adopted 17 June 1999 by the International Labour
Ratifications of Worst Forms
of Child Labor Convention, 1999]
The General Conference of the International Labour
Having been convened at Geneva by the Governing Body of the
International Labour Office, and having met in its 87th Session on 1
June 1999, and
Considering the need to adopt new instruments for the prohibition and
elimination of the worst forms of child labour, as the main priority for
national and international action, including international cooperation
and assistance, to complement the Convention and Recommendation
concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, 1973, which remain
fundamental instruments on child labour, and
Considering that the effective elimination of the worst forms of child
labour requires immediate and comprehensive action, taking into account
the importance of free basic education and the need to remove the
children concerned from all such work and to provide for their
rehabilitation and social integration while addressing the needs of
their families, and
Recalling the resolution concerning the elimination of child labour
adopted by the International Labour Conference at its 83rd Session in
Recognizing that child labour is to a great extent caused by poverty and
that the long-term solution lies in sustained economic growth leading to
social progress, in particular poverty alleviation and universal
Recalling the Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the
United Nations General Assembly on 20 November 1989, and
Recalling the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at
Work and its Follow-up, adopted by the International Labour Conference
at its 86th Session in 1998, and
Recalling that some of the worst forms of child labour are covered by
other international instruments, in particular the Forced Labour
Convention, 1930, and the United Nations Supplementary Convention on the
Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices
Similar to Slavery, 1956, and
Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to
child labour, which is the fourth item on the agenda of the session, and
Having determined that these proposals shall take the form of an
adopts this seventeenth day of June of the year one thousand nine
hundred and ninety-nine the following Convention, which may be cited as
the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999.
Each Member which ratifies this Convention shall take immediate and
effective measures to secure the prohibition and elimination of the
worst forms of child labour as a matter of urgency.
For the purposes of this Convention, the term “child” shall apply to all
persons under the age of 18.
For the purposes of this Convention, the term “the worst forms of child
(a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to
slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage
and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or
compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict;
(b) the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for
the production of pornography or for pornographic performances;
(c) the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit
activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of
drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties;
(d) work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is
carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of
1. The types of work referred to under Article 3(d) shall be determined
by national laws or regulations or by the competent authority, after
consultation with the organizations of employers and workers concerned,
taking into consideration relevant international standards, in
particular Paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Worst Forms of Child Labour
2. The competent authority, after consultation with the organizations of
employers and workers concerned, shall identify where the types of work
so determined exist.
3. The list of the types of work determined under paragraph 1 of this
Article shall be periodically examined and revised as necessary, in
consultation with the organizations of employers and workers concerned.
Each Member shall, after consultation with employers’ and workers’
organizations, establish or designate appropriate mechanisms to monitor
the implementation of the provisions giving effect to this Convention.
1. Each Member shall design and implement programmes of action to
eliminate as a priority the worst forms of child labour.
2. Such programmes of action shall be designed and implemented in
consultation with relevant government institutions and employers’ and
workers’ organizations, taking into consideration the views of other
concerned groups as appropriate.
1. Each Member shall take all necessary measures to ensure the effective
implementation and enforcement of the provisions giving effect to this
Convention including the provision and application of penal sanctions
or, as appropriate, other sanctions.
2. Each Member shall, taking into account the importance of education in
eliminating child labour, take effective and time-bound measures to:
(a) prevent the engagement of children in the worst forms of child
(b) provide the necessary and appropriate direct assistance for the
removal of children from the worst forms of child labour and for their
rehabilitation and social integration;
(c) ensure access to free basic education, and, wherever possible and
appropriate, vocational training, for all children removed from the
worst forms of child labour;
(d) identify and reach out to children at special risk; and
(e) take account of the special situation of girls.
3. Each Member shall designate the competent authority responsible for
the implementation of the provisions giving effect to this Convention.
Members shall take appropriate steps to assist one another in giving
effect to the provisions of this Convention through enhanced
international cooperation and/or assistance including support for social
and economic development, poverty eradication programmes and universal
The formal ratifications of this Convention shall be communicated to the
Director-General of the International Labour Office for registration.
1. This Convention shall be binding only upon those Members of the
International Labour Organization whose ratifications have been
registered with the Director-General of the International Labour Office.
2. It shall come into force 12 months after the date on which the
ratifications of two Members have been registered with the
3. Thereafter, this Convention shall come into force for any Member 12
months after the date on which its ratification has been registered.
1. A member which has ratified this Convention may denounce it after the
expiration of ten years from the date on which the Convention first
comes into force, by an act communicated to the Director-General of the
International Labour Office for registration. Such denunciation shall
not take effect until one year after the date on which it is registered.
2. Each Member which has ratified this Convention and which does not,
within the year following the expiration of the period of ten years
mentioned in the preceding paragraph, exercise the right of denunciation
provided for in this Article, will be bound for another period of ten
years and, thereafter, may denounce this Convention at the expiration of
each period of ten years under the terms provided for in this Article.
1. The Director-General of the International Labour Office shall notify
all Members of the International Labour Organization of the registration
of all ratifications, and acts of denunciation communicated by Members
of the Organization.
2. When notifying the Members of the Organization of the registration of
the second ratification, the Director-General shall draw the attention
of the Members of the Organization to the date upon which the Convention
shall come into force.
The Director-General of the International Labour Office shall
communicate to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for
registration in accordance with article 102 of the Charter of the United
Nations, full particulars of all ratifications and acts of denunciation
registered by the Director-General in accordance with the revisions of
the preceding Articles.
At such times as it may consider necessary, the Governing Body of the
International Labour Office shall present to the General Conference a
report on the working of this Convention and shall examine the
desirability of placing on the agenda of the Conference the question of
its revision in whole or in part.
1. Should the Conference adopt a new Convention revising this Convention
in whole or in part, then, unless the new Convention otherwise provides
(a) the ratification by a member of the new revising Convention shall
ipso jure involve the immediate denunciation of this Convention,
notwithstanding the provisions of Article 11 above, if and when the new
revising Convention shall have come into force;
(b) as from the date when the new revising Convention comes into force,
this Convention shall cease to be open to ratification by the Members.
2. This Convention shall in any case remain in force in its actual form
and content for those Members which have ratified it but have not
ratified the revising Convention.
The English and French versions of the text of this Convention are