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CAGE BACKS ILO CAMPAIGN: Nicolas Cage is the first major celebrity to back a new initiative by the International Labor Organization reaching out to artists around the world to help raise awareness to end child labor and to promote core international workplace standards. A focal point of the “Artworks” initiative by the Geneva-based ILO places an emphasis on rallying support to stamp out the worst forms of bonded labor and child labor. The ILO estimates there are more than 215 million child workers worldwide.
“As the father of two sons, this is a situation that I find unacceptable, and it makes me want to do something about it,” Cage said.
The actor urged people to take action, from demanding that governments ratify the international convention to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, to writing to apparel and sports equipment manufacturers asking them to ensure there is no child labor in their supply chains.
ILO director-general Guy Ryder said, “When we look around the world and see hundreds of millions of people living in poverty, or in conditions of slavery, when we see millions of children forced to work and millions of adults and youngsters without a job, when we see people’s rights under threat, we feel that we need to work with artists even closer than before to draw attention to the plight of all these women, men and children.”
The ILO has campaigned for years for the eradication of child labor, and provides technical support and assistance to poor countries toward this end. A report on tanneries in Bangladesh, published last week by the advocacy group Human Rights Watch, found that children in some plants “work 12 or even 14 hours a day,” and often with hazardous chemicals.