Online March Against Child Labor

July 1998 Update

What is the Online March?

The Online March or "virtual march" against child labor is created by the Broad Meadows Middle School students in support of The Global March Against Child Labor which is an actual march to end child labor. The Global March crossed five continents in an attempt to raise awareness of forced, abusive child exploitation around the world. For those too young or unable to actually march, the Broad Meadows students created a virtual march.

The Kids Online March Against Child Labor was launched in November of 1997. The goal : to move 3,000 youth to write email messages calling for an end to child labor AND to present these messages to the policy makers who will rewrite international child labor agreements at the June 1998 International Labor Organization Conference in Geneva , Switzerland. The ILO is a special section of the United Nations. At a symbolic mile a message, 3,000 messages represent a virtual marching across America against child labor.

On June 1, 1998, we received email message number 3,000. WE DID IT! We met and hand delivered copies of these 3,000 emails to : U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman ; to Global March organizer Khalaish Sathyari of India ; to White House Human Rights Advisor Eric Schwartz ; to ILO delegate Andrew Samet ( head of the U.S. delegation in Geneva ) ; and to U.S. National Security Advisor Leon Feurth. All messages are posted on our Online March section of the U.S. Global March web site which can be viewed by the 1,500 ILO delegates now meeting in Geneva. The address is:


Want to get involved in the campaign ?

We don't want your money, just your voice! If you had the chance, what would you say to people who were about to change child labor laws? Well, guess what? International Child Labor agreements are going to change THIS YEAR and you are invited to get involved. A class or individual can send a message to the people who will be rewriting the ways governments treat child labor. UNICEF estimates that over 200 million children worldwide are in forced, abusive child labor and NOT in school. That may change in Geneva.

Who is rewriting international child labor agreements? When?

Representatives from almost every nation in the world are heading to Geneva, Switzerland in June 1998 to rewite child labor laws at the International Labor Organization's Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Each nation, including the U.S., is sending delegates to Geneva. Before those delegates create new child labor agreements, they should hear from as many people as possible. Now is the hour and this is the place for YOU to raise your voice, online, against forced, abusive child labor.

What are adults doing about this Geneva convention?

To get involved, adults organized actual marches against child labor on five continents. These "Global Marches Against Child Labor" are now crossing Africa, Asia and South America. The on-foot march crossed the USA in May 1998, beginning in L.A. and marched or drove 3,000 miles across America to Washington, D.C.

What can YOU do?

It's great that adults are marching, but WHAT ABOUT US? What about those who are too young to march, unable to march or not on the march route?

Several 8th graders from the Broad Meadows Middle School in Quincy, Massachusetts, sent an email to the Global March organizers suggesting that they should add a virtual march. The march organizers agreed.

As a result, we want to announce that together with the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights in Washington, DC, and other groups, these 8th graders have created “The Young People’s Online March Against Child Labor,” for those who want to get involved but are too young or unable to march.

You are invited to join this student created VIRTUAL MARCH against child labor.

What is the goal of The Online March?

The goal is to get 3,000 anti-child labor messages from youth, teachers and others posted on our “Kids Online March Against Child Labor” web site. Each message posted will symbolize a virtual mile marched against child labor . If we reach our goal of getting 3,000 messages, at a mile a message, we will have succeeded in marching symbolically across the U.S.A. against child labor.

The goal is for the online voices of youth and others to stretch from coast to coast and reach all the way to the child labor delegates in Geneva, Switzerland. 3,000 email voices cannot be ignored by the ILO delegates.

You can e-mail a message today. You don't have to write a lot, just raise your voice. Now is the hour to speak up, and this is the place where it can be done. Send your message to:


Who is already involved and already marched a virtual mile?

Third grade students in Zuni, New Mexico marched several virtual miles; fifth grade students in Milton, Massachusetts marched a virtual mile. Students have also passed the word on to parents and older sisters and brothers. As a result, we have received "virtual miles" from a USC student, a Seton Hall Law School Student, a Notre Dame student, and the President of Wellesley College. The Online March has crossed borders, too. Messages have been received from an 11 year old in Pakistan, a sixth grade class in Ireland, from students in Australia who on March 11, 1998, set up lap top computers in front of their Capital Building to collect "virtual miles" from Australians entering and leaving a lawmaking session.

So, what will YOU say to people who are changing international working conditions for children and child labor agreements? Will you also do research, contact your lawmakers , farmworkers, exporters and importers? By the way, where was your sweatshirt or soccer ball made? WHO made it? Who picked the food you ate today? What do you think of these 5 steps for ending child labor?

  1. All children must go to primary school ... PERIOD.
  2. Companies must monitor their overseas factories and fields to guarantee no children are there
  3. Consumers like you must ask "Who made this?" or "Who picked this ?" before buying something
  4. Governments must pass and ENFORCE tough laws protecting children
  5. Micro credit loans must be made available to poor mothers to allow them to buy back children sold into bondage AND to start up a small business

If all that happens, could the cycle of poverty be broken and would that end child labor?

Please send your message to endchlabor@AOL.com . Every message you send will be posted on the U.S. Global March web site http://www.globalmarch-us.org . Geneva, 1998, could be the beginning of the end of child labor. Won't you get involved by raising your voice online today? The SN members from the Broad Meadows School (Amy, Nicole, Amanda, Griea, Mike, etc.) are the same young people who thought up The Kids Campaign to Build A School for Iqbal which won the 1997 Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights Award and the 1995 Reebok International Youth-in-Action human Rights Award.

What happens to email messages a class or individual sends?

All email "virtual miles" should be sent to endchlabor@AOL.com and all messages will be posted at http://www.globalmarch-us.org


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