The number of children in child labour has risen to 160 million worldwide—an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years—with millions more at risk due to the impacts of covid-19, a United Nations report has said.
The report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Unicef—titled Child Labour: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward—warns that progress to end child labour has stalled for the first time in 20 years, reversing the previous downward trend that saw child labour fall by 94 million between 2000 and 2016. Read the findings of the report here….
The closure of 1.5 million schools due to the pandemic and lockdowns in India have impacted 247 million children enrolled in elementary and secondary schools, and added to the risk of them slipping into child labour and unsafe migration.
Rise in engagement in hazardous work
The report points to a significant rise in the number of children aged 5 to 11 years in child labour, who now account for just over half of the total global figure. The number of children aged 5 to 17 years in hazardous work—defined as work that is likely to harm their health, safety or morals—has risen by 6.5 million to 79 million since 2016.
The report warns that globally, 9 million additional children are at risk of being pushed into child labour by the end of 2022 as a result of the pandemic.
Child labour is more prevalent among boys than girls at every age. When household chores performed for at least 21 hours per week are taken into account, the gender gap in child labour narrows, the report said.
Agriculture sector employs more children
As per the key findings in the report, the agriculture sector accounts for 70% of children in child labour (112 million) followed by 20% in services (31.4 million) and 10% in industry (16.5 million).
The report said that nearly 28% of children aged 5 to 11 years and 35% of children aged 12 to 14 years in child labour are out of school.
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