Global March Against Child Labor
27 January 1998

Global March on Five Continents Targets Child Labor

Starting on January 17, 1998, three parallel Marches Against Child Labor are winding their way through Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America and Europe. The Global March is a combination of marches and bus caravans linked with an extensive program of local and national demonstrations, events and advocacy campaigns. Activists from each region of the world will sponsor their own marches and activities, converging in Geneva in June at the time of an International Labor Organization (ILO) meeting where representatives of governments, businesses and unions will convene to discuss a new ILO convention on child labor.

For 250 million children around the world, childhood is lost to grinding labor, often in dangerous and degrading circumstances and for wages that adults would not accept. Children sell flowers on the streets of Rio, break stones in Portugal, work at carpet looms in India, scrub the floors of middle-class households in Nairobi. Millions of children work as prostitutes or soldiers or are handed over to strangers to work as virtual slaves. In the United States, children work every day - on farms harvesting fruits and vegetables and in urban sweatshops sewing garments for U.S. consumers. A recent study commissioned by the Associated Press estimated that at least 230,000 children are working in agriculture and 13,000 children are working in sweatshops in the U.S. The number may be much higher.

The Global March is more than a demonstration of public concern. It is an international alliance of many groups and individuals concerned with eradicating child labor. It aims to mobilize worldwide efforts to promote the rights of all children, especially the right to receive a free, meaningful education and to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be damaging to the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.

The Americas March begins in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on February 25 and arrives in the United States on May 2. U.S./Mexico border itinerary:

May 2 Los Angeles, CA
May 3 San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico
May 4 Mexicali, Mexico
May 5 Yuma and Tucson, AZ
May 6 El Paso, TX
May 7 Sonora, Mexico
May 8 travel
May 9 Edinburg, TX
May 10 rest
May 11 San Antonio, TX
May 12 Dallas, TX
May 13 Hope, AK
May 14 Little Rock, AK
May 15 Memphis, TN
May 16 St. Louis, MO
May 17 Chicago, IL
May 18 rest
May 19 Detroit, MI
May 20 Cleveland, OH
May 21 Pittsburgh, PA
May 22 travel
May 23 New York, NY
May 24 rest
May 25 Philadelphia
May 26 Washington, DC
May 27 Washington, DC
May 28 leave for Geneva

The movement has captured the imagination of more than 700 non-governmental organizations, trade unions and children's rights organizations representing millions of people; they range from local grassroots groups to international organizations. The march and its related activities will take place in 92 countries. Children around the world are getting involved in activities supporting the Global March as it comes to their countries. They are finding ways to participate even if the march is not scheduled to pass near their homes. For example, a group of students in Massachusetts is creating an on-line march that will enable children everywhere to participate.

The International Labor Organization has proposed a major new convention targeting the worst forms of child labor; it will be discussed at the ILO conference in Geneva in June. Global Marchers from around the world will converge there to deliver a strong message that the new convention must strengthen existing protection.

Contact the Global March Against Child Labor:, 733 15th Street NW, Suite 920, Washington, DC 20005, phone:(202) 347-3817, fax:(202) 347-4885.


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