Child labor increases for the first time in two decades

The number of child victims of child labor has increased for the first time in 20 years, reaching 160 million worldwide, announced today the International Labor Organization (ILO) and UNICEF.

On the report “Child Labor: 2020 Global Estimates, Trends and the Way Forward“, from the ILO and UNICEF, on the occasion of the World Day against Child Labour, which takes place on June 12, highlights the need to put into practice measures to combat the phenomenon, which could be aggravated by the pandemic.

The document emphasizes that for the first time in 20 years the evolution of the eradication of child labor “reversed its sense“contrary to the downward trend registered between 2000 and 2016, a period during which there was a reduction of 94 million fewer children in the world of work.

In the last four years, this increase was 8.4 million people, he says.

According to the report, made public today, “nine million more children are at risk due to the effects of covid-19″ by the end of 2022 and “that number could increase to 46 million children, if they do not have access to essential social protection measures”.

“New economic crises and the closing of schools, due to covid-19, could mean that children work more hours, or in aggravated conditions, while many others may be forced into the worst forms of child labor, due to the loss of employment and income in vulnerable families”, the document warns.

The Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, warned, quoted in a statement, that “we are losing ground in the fight against child labour”, noting that “last year did not facilitate” this work.

Henrietta Fore defended the importance of investing in programs that discourage child labor, at a time when the closing schools, economic crises and adjustments to national budgets can force families “to make very drastic decisions”.

Children between 5 and 11 years represent more than half of all cases

“We urge governments and international development banks to prioritize investments in programs that allow children to leave the labor market and return to school, as well as to invest in social protection programs that prevent families have to resort to child labor“, he requested.

The report also reveals a substantial increase in the number of children between the ages of 5 and 11 who work and represent more than half of all cases of child labor in the world.

The number of children aged between 5 and 17 years old, involved in hazardous work, work activities that can harm their health, physical safety or cognitive development, increased by 6.5 million since 2016, currently standing at 79 million children, he adds.

The publication indicates that 70% of cases of child labor, equivalent to 112 million children, occur in the agricultural sector, 20%, corresponding to 31.4 million minors, in services, and 10%, 16.5 million children, work in the industry.

child labor in rural areas (14%) is almost three times higher when purchased with urban areas (5%).

“Almost 28% of children aged between 5 and 11 years and 35% of children aged between 12 and 14 who work do not attend school”, emphasized the report, which states that there is a higher incidence of child labor among boys, blurring this disparity when considering housework.

Child labor in rural areas is nearly three times higher

For his part, the Director General of the ILO, Guy Ryder, also declared quoted in the same statement that these new estimates “are a warning” and called for intervention, so as not to put at risk “a whole new generation of children”.

We are at a crucial moment and the results achieved will depend, in large part, on the measures we take” and it is necessary to reiterate the commitment and the will “to reverse this situation and to break the cycle of poverty and child labour”, asked Guy Ryder.

The report warns that “child labor compromises children’s education, restricts your rights, limits your future opportunities and it contributes to the maintenance of intergenerational cycles of vicious poverty and child labor”.

The forecasts announced by the two entities are based on the extrapolation of data from 106 surveys that cover more than 70% of the world population of children between 5 and 17 years old.

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