This article argues that in order to understand how international human rights agreements (HRAs) work, scholars need to turn their attention to rights that are not definitional to democracy. When rights practices diverge from treaty rules, but the domestic enforcement mechanisms that give such agreements their bite are robust, how do governments behave? The study explores this question by examining a core treaty that prohibits child labor. When domestic enforcement is likely, states where many children work are often deterred from ratifying. Nevertheless, those that do ratify experience significant child labor improvements. By contrast, in non-democracies, ratification is a promise that is easily made but seldom kept.