Child labor rises to 160 million, while COVID-19 puts many more at risk |

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The report, Child Labor: Global Estimates for 2020, Trends and the Way Forward, published by the International Labor Organization (ILO)International Labour Organizationand the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)UNICEF), UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore urged governments and international development banks to “prioritize investments in programs that can get children out of the workforce and back in school.”

Addressing the root causes

She also called for better social protection programs “that can help families avoid making this choice in the first place.”

Released before International Day Against Child Labor On June 12, the report warned that progress on ending child labor was stalling for the first time in 20 years, reversing the previous downward trend that saw the number employed drop by 94 million between 2000 and 2016.

It points to a significant rise in the number of working children between the ages of 5 and 11, which represents just over half of the total global figure.

As for people aged five to 17 in hazardous work, which is likely to harm their health, safety or moral well-being, their number has increased by 6.5 million since 2016 to 79 million.

“The new estimates are a wake-up call. We cannot stand idly by while a new generation of children is at risk,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.

The impact of COVID

In sub-Saharan Africa, population growth, recurrent crises, extreme poverty and inadequate social protection measures have led to an additional 16.6 million children in child labor over the past four years, according to the report.

And the COVID-19 Threats to progress in Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The report warns that an additional nine million children globally are at risk of being pushed into child labor by the end of 2022 as a result of the pandemic, which could rise to 46 million without access to critical social protection coverage.

“Universal social protection allows families to keep their children in school even in the face of economic hardship. Increased investment in rural development and decent work in agriculture is essential,” Mr. Ryder explained.

The additional economic shocks and school closures caused by COVID-19 mean that children already forced, or forced to work, may work longer hours or under worsening conditions, while job and income loss among vulnerable families may push many into the worst forms of child labour.

More to track …
Bulletin Observer Human Rights News

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