EYEAFRICA TV: The International Labour Organization (ILO) has on Friday said one in ten children are still caught up in harmful work, despite the significant decrease in child labour over the last decade.
“There is no place for child labour in society,” said Guy Ryder, Director-General of ILO as he kick off a year-long bid to eradicate the practice.
“It robs children of their future and keeps families in poverty.”
According to the UN labour agency, while the number has dropped from 246 million in 2000 to 152 million in 2016, there has been uneven progress across regions.
It pointed out that some 72 million children are working in Africa, which account for almost half of the world’s total. This is followed by Asia and the Pacific, home to 62 million child labourers.
The labour organization also highlighted that 70 per cent of these children work in agriculture – mainly in subsistence and commercial farming and livestock herding – and almost half in occupations or situations considered hazardous to their health and lives.
School closures due to COVID-19 have also pushed millions more children into the labour market, so they can contribute to the family income.
“With COVID-19 threatening to reverse years of progress, we need to deliver on promises now more than ever,” the ILO chief emphasized.
The 12-month campaign will also prepare the ground for the fifth Global Conference on Child Labour (VGC) in 2022, which will welcome additional commitments towards ending child labour in all its forms by 2025, and forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery by 2030.
“This International Year is an opportunity for governments to step up and achieve Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals by taking concrete actions to eliminate child labour for good.”