The report, Child Labor: 2020 Global Estimates, Trends and Way Forward, published by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), urges governments and international development banks, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, “to prioritize investment in programs that can take children out of the workforce and return them to school.”
Addressing the root causes
He also called for better social protection programs “that can help families avoid this choice in the first place”.
Released before World Day Against Child Labor On June 12, the report warns that progress to end child labor has stopped for the first time in 20 years, reversing the previous downward trend that saw the number of employed people decline by 94 million between 2000 and 2016 .
It indicates a significant increase in working children between the ages of 5 and 11, which represents just over half of the global total.
And those between the ages of five and 17 doing dangerous jobs, which could harm their health, safety or moral well-being, have increased by 6.5 million since 2016, to 79 million.
“The new estimates are a wake-up call. We cannot stand by while a new generation of children is put at risk, ”said ILO Director General Guy Ryder.
Impact of COVID
According to the report, in sub-Saharan Africa, population growth, recurring crises, extreme poverty and inadequate social protection measures have led to 16.6 million more children in child labor over the past four years.
IS COVID-19 endangers the progress made in Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean regions.
The report warns that globally, nine million more children are at risk of being pushed into child labor by the end of 2022 due to the pandemic, which could rise to 46 million without access to critical social protection coverage.
“Inclusive social protection allows families to keep their children in school even in the face of economic difficulties. More investment in rural development and decent agricultural work are essential, ”Ryder explained.
Further economic shocks and school closures caused by COVID-19 mean that children already forced or forced to work could work longer or in worse conditions, while the loss of jobs and income among vulnerable families could push many more in the worst forms of child labor.