World Day Against Child Labour 2020: UN, ILO dedicate this year to mitigate impact of COVID-19 crisis on child labour

The ILO and UNICEF have stated that the COVID-19 crisis is risking millions of children being pushed into child labour, which could lead to the first rise in rate after two decades of progress.

FP Trending June 12, 2020 15:07:05 IST
World Day Against Child Labour 2020: UN, ILO dedicate this year to mitigate impact of COVID-19 crisis on child labour

The United Nations and International Labour Organization (ILO) observe 12 June every year as the world day against child labour, to highlight how a large section of young population is forced into menial jobs. However, this year the focus is specifically on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on child labour.

The occassion was originally launched by the ILO in 2002 to create awareness about the global extent of child labour and the actions and efforts that are needed to eliminate it.

World Day Against Child Labour 2020 UN ILO dedicate this year to mitigate impact of COVID19 crisis on child labour

Representational image. Reuters

According to UN data, Africa and the Asia and the Pacific regions together account for almost nine out of every ten children in child labour worldwide.

NDTV reported that as per the last census, there are over 10 million child labourers in India. Many of these children are kept confined to workplace by employers.

The ILO and UNICEF have stated that the COVID-19 crisis is risking millions of children being pushed into child labour, which could lead to the first rise in rate after two decades of progress.

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder has stated that as the pandemic wreaks havoc on families, many could resort to child labour for money.

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore added that as poverty rises and schools close, many children might get pushed into working for a livelihood. "As we re-imagine the world post-COVID, we need to make sure that children and their families have the tools they need to weather similar storms in the future. Quality education, social protection services and better economic opportunities can be game changers," Fore added.

According per International Labour Organization (ILO) data, there are about 152 million children globally who are engaged in child labour, 72 million of whom are in hazardous work.

The plight of child labourers was recently brought to the fore when on 26 April, Nobel Laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging his government to rescue child labourers.

"Extraordinary situations call for extraordinary steps... I strongly feel that in order to save the lives of children trapped in slavery and child labour across the country, this step is the only option left," he wrote after a young girl stranded by the coronavirus lockdown died of exhaustion while walking back to her village.

In 2020, the World Day Against Child Labour is being conducted as a virtual campaign, organized jointly with the Global March Against Child Labour and the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture (IPCCLA) .

ILO and UNICEF are developing a simulation model to look at the impact of COVID-19 on child labour globally.

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