Is the end of this obstacle to health and development in sight, ask Elspeth Anwar and Therese Hesketh
Child labour is a huge global problem. It is easy in the developed world to think child labour a problem of the past, but recent news stories have brought the matter back under the spotlight. For example, a Chinese company has been stripped of its licence to make merchandise for the 2008 Beijing Olympic games after admitting that it used child workers.1 And the fashion chain Gap has withdrawn children's clothing from sale because it was alleged to have been made using forced child labour in India.2
In 2006 the International Labour Organisation (ILO) published figures on child labour worldwide. They show an encouraging reduction in child labour, especially its worst forms, in many areas of the world, and indicate the end of child labour as being “within reach.”3 Child labour poses an obstacle to health and development, and innovative policies are being used to tackle the problem.