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Abstract

Article 32 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ("UN Convention") states that parties to the convention must "recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development." Despite this well-intentioned document and several other treaties, conventions and protocols, millions of children around the world are subjected to varying degrees of economic exploitation, some in conditions that are akin to slavery. Section I will examine the problem, scope and causes of child labor. Section II will survey international law, both generally and specifically; what laws govern, and whether these laws are being enforced; and additionally, whether the problem countries are parties to the UN Convention or other protocols, such as the International Labor Organization Conventions 138 or 182. Section II will also examine domestic legislation relating to child labor overseas. Section III will describe current efforts to end child exploitation, what the international community can do to ensure the enforcement of domestic laws protecting children, and delineate promising strategies for ending end child exploitation.