Hunger has yet to be eradicated around the world, because of a lack of shame and political will, Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Thursday.
Lula, along with his successor, President Dilma Rousseff, took part in the closing ceremony of the third Global Conference on Child Labor organized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Brasilia.
In a speech, Lula said hunger and poverty are the main reasons why children are forced to work, recalling his own humble origins.
Regions where child labor is rampant are usually the poorest, "The child labor map coincides exactly with the map of poverty and hunger," Lula said. "There are certainly other reasons for child labor, such as economic structures, traditions and the political situation, but poverty and hunger are crucial."
Lula said the first step toward speeding up the fight against child labor was to promote wealth distribution in the poorest regions of the planet.
"There is no shortage of resources, but there is a lack of shame and political will to confront this problem," Lula stressed.
The former president highlighted hunger and poverty eradication efforts by both his and Rousseff's governments, saying "never before were so much time and money invested to fight the plague" of child labor in Brazil.
Some 1,300 delegates from 153 countries participated in the conference, in which education, social policy and inequality were discussed.
According to the ILO, despite significant progress has been made, 168 million children continue to form part of the world's labor force today.