A new report has been released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Unicef. The report states that child labour has risen to 160 million worldwide. This is an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years.
And millions of more remain at risk after the Covid-19 pandemic. A report “Child Labour: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward” was released ahead of World Day Against Child Labour. It warns against child labour, as its progress seems stalled for the first time in 20 years.
This apparently reverses the previous downward trend that saw child labour fall by 94 million between 2000 and 2016.
“We are losing ground in the fight against child labour, and the last year has not made that fight any easier. Now, well into the second year of global lockdowns, school closures, economic disruptions, and shrinking national budgets, families are forced to make heartbreaking choices,” Unicef’s executive director Henrietta Fore said in a statement.
Key findings of the report
-A significant rise in the number of children aged 5 to 11 years in child labour.
-Children aged 5 to 17 years in hazardous work has risen by 6.5 million to 79 million since 2016.
-In sub-Saharan Africa, population growth, recurrent crises, extreme poverty, and inadequate social protection measures resulted in additional 16.6 million children in child labour over the past four years.
-Globally, 9 million additional children are at risk of being pushed into child labour by the end of 2022 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
-More and more children may be forced into the worst forms of child labour due income losses among vulnerable families.
-Also, agriculture sector accounts for 70 per cent of children in child labour.
-Nearly 28 per cent of children aged 5 to 11 years and 35 per cent of children aged 12 to 14 years in child labour are out of school
-The report shows that Child labour is more prevalent among boys than girls at every age.
-Child labour is more prevalent in rural areas (14 per cent) is close to three times higher than in urban areas (5 per cent).
World Day against Child Labour
World Day Against Child Labour is being observed on Saturday, on June 12. The UN has made 2021 the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. It calls for an urgent action to meet a goal of ending this practice by 2025.
In order to reverse the upward trend in child labour, adequate social protection for all is need of the hour. This will include universal child benefits among others.
They also call for increased spending on free and good-quality schooling. Also getting all children back into school, including those who dropped out before Covid-19 will help.
The ILO and UNICEF said there should be an end to harmful gender norms and discrimination that influence child labour.