AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, child marriage and forced marriage are harmful practices that deprive girls of their dignity and human rights. According to UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund), in the last 10 years, an estimated 60 million girls around the world were married before they turned 18 years old. If present trends continue, more than 100 million more girls will be married as children over the next decade, according to the Population Council; and

WHEREAS, forced marriage is a form of modern-day slavery. As of September 2017, for the first time, the International Labour Organization has begun to count forced marriage into its slavery statistics. On any given day in 2016, the ILO estimates that 40 million people were victims of modern-day slavery, and of these, 15.4 million were in forced marriage; and

WHEREAS, ILO Convention No. 182 (“Worst Forms of Child Labour”) explicitly forbids “all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children … and forced or compulsory labour.” Clearly, conditions in many child marriages overlap with these prohibitions; and

WHEREAS, even the United States is not exempt from these issues. According to the human rights group Unchained at Last, more than 248,000 children were married, mostly to adult men, in the United States between 2000 and 2010. While we have seen progress (for example, Florida’s state Senate recently voted unanimously to ban marriage to anyone under the age of 18), 25 states still have no minimum age for marriage; and

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO represents the interests of U.S. workers in the tripartite arrangement at the ILO, and as such has the ability to advocate for the concept that child marriage is child labor; and

WHEREAS, a global coalition, which includes the nonprofit AIDS-Free World, is working to combat the negative effects of child marriage, such as forced labor, physical and psychological abuse, and the loss of educational opportunities:

RESOLVED, that in as much as the American Federation of Teachers stands against child marriage and forced marriage as human rights violations, we will join forces with like-minded national and international unions and other organizations to advocate at the International Labour Organization that “Child Marriage Is Child Labor.”