Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Number of children in child labor rises to 160 million: first increase in two decades

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The number of children in child labor has risen to 160 million worldwide, an increase of 8.4 million in the last four years, according to a report released Wednesday by the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Because it is important: The report warns that “global progress to eradicate child labor has stalled for the first time in 20 years, reversing the previous downward trend that saw child labor fall by 94 million between 2000 and 2016.”

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By the numbers: 63 million girls and 97 million boys were in child labor at the beginning of 2020, representing approximately 1 in 10 children worldwide. Boys were more likely to work than girls in all age groups, according to the report.

  • “The number of children ages 5 to 17 doing hazardous work, defined as work that can harm their health, safety or morals, has increased by 6.5 million to 79 million since 2016.”

  • In sub-Saharan Africa, insufficient social protection, population growth and poverty have caused an additional 16.6 million children to find themselves in child labor over the past four years.

  • The economic slowdown and school closings triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated closed closures led many children already working to work longer hours or endure deteriorating conditions, the report noted.

  • “Child labor is frequently associated with children not attending school. A large proportion of the youngest children in child labor are excluded from school despite being within the age range for compulsory education. More than a quarter of children aged 5 to 11 and more than a third of children aged 12 to 14 who are in child labor are not in school “, according to the report.

Details: Key findings from the 2020 global estimates indicate …

  • Child labor is more common in rural areas (13.9%) than in urban areas (4.7%).

  • Most (70%) of child labor takes place in the agricultural sector.

  • 72% of all child labor occurs in families, mainly on farms or in small businesses.

What they are saying: “Many children feel they have no choice but to work to help their families survive, but the increase in child labor is not an inevitable consequence of the pandemic,” he said. Jo becker, director of defense of the rights of the child in HRW.

What to see: Another 9 million children could be forced to work by the end of 2022 due to the pandemic, the report warns.

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