Aiming to call attention to the worst forms of abusive child labour - a practice harming one out of every eight youngsters worldwide - the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) today announced plans to host a match with the Real Madrid football club.
Real Madrid and the ILO will bring the "Red Card to Child Labour" campaign to Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on 18 December, when the team marks its centennial anniversary with a game against a world selection team.
In a pre-game ceremony, football players will enter the stadium accompanied by 22 children wearing T-shirts with the logo of the campaign. They will raise special red cards to demonstrate support for the campaign to end child labour.
At a public ceremony in the stadium on the eve of the match, ILO Executive Director Kari Tapiola and Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez Rodríguez will sign an agreement of mutual collaboration on the anti-child labour drive.
Some 246 million children work worldwide, including about 180 million who are exposed to hazardous forms of labour, according to the ILO. More than 8 million children are trapped in the most abhorrent forms of abuse, such as slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, prostitution, pornography and other illicit activities. Some 73 million working children worldwide are under 10 years of age.
The next important phases of the campaign will be the FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates starting next March, the FIFA Women's World Cup in China beginning in September, the 2004 Copa America in Peru and the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.