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Opening remarks by Mr. Gyorgy Sziraczki, Director, ILO Country Office for Viet Nam at the World Day Against Child Labour

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Date:     11 June 2013

Event:   World Day Against Child Labour 2013

Venue: Youth Theatre, Hanoi, on 11 June 2013


•    Vice Minister Diep

•    Vice Minister Bien

•    His Excellency Mr Alfonso Tena, Spanish Ambassador

•    Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening,

Thank you all for joining our special event today to celebrate the World Day Against Child Labour.

For every society, community and family, children mean the future. They deserve good care, love and education.

But unfortunately across the world, around 215 million children have to work instead of going to school and playing. Many are even exposed to the worst form of child labour, such as work in hazardous environments.

What at risk is not only the physical, moral and emotional integrity of these children, but also the future of their society. These children need to get the chance to be children again.

This year’s World Day Against Child Labour puts the spotlight on child domestic work. The ILO estimates that globally 15.5 million children are engaged in paid or unpaid domestic work in the home of a third party or employer. The vast majority of them are girls while more than half are found in hazardous child domestic work.

In Viet Nam, the expanding middle class has resulted in an increasing number of domestic workers. Some of them unfortunately are children. The latest national Population and Housing Census shows that 7.1 per cent of domestic workers in the country are under 18 of age.

Since their work is often hidden from the public eye, child domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and abuse.

On this World Day, we call for joint efforts to reach out to this group of children who are at special risk.

The Vietnamese Government has made good progress in the fight against child labour. And with the new Labour Code, which recognizes domestic work as employment, there is a further opportunity for action.  It’s time to identify hazardous elements of domestic work and to prohibit such work for children under 18 of age!

I believe that inter-ministerial efforts, together with supports from public and private institutions of all levels, will help eliminate child labour in domestic work in the country. Each community, family and household also plays a big role in this fight.

The ILO stands side by side with Viet Nam in its efforts as we have been supporting your country in the prevention and elimination of child labour since 2000. We promise to do whatever we can help to give the smile back to every child in Viet Nam.

On this occasion, I would like to express my sincere thanks to our donors – the Spanish and US governments – for their support to our work.

And my special thanks to the Youth Theatre for their hard work on a creative performance that you will soon see tonight.

I hope you will enjoy the show. Thank you all!