• Sunday, Sep 25, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Covid-19 may push millions of children into child labour

  • Published at 09:09 am June 12th, 2020
child laborer carrying bricks on his head

Child labour has been down by 94 million since 2000, a gain which is now under threat  


Millions of children are at risk of being pushed into child labour due to the Covid-19 crisis, which could lead to the first increase in child labour after 20 years of progress, according to a new brief from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Unicef.

The report “Covid-19 and Child Labour” said this is a time of crisis, a time to act as child labour which decreased by 94 million since 2000, is now at risk.

Children already involved in child labour may be working longer hours or under worsening conditions, the report said. 

More of them may be forced into the worst forms of labour causing significant harm to their health and safety.

“As the pandemic wreaks havoc on family incomes, without support, many could resort to child labour,’ said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. 

“Social protection is vital in times of crisis, as it provides assistance to those who are most vulnerable. Integrating child labour concerns across broader policies for education, social protection, justice, labour markets, and international human and labour rights makes a critical difference,” the ILO DG added.

 According to the brief, Covid-19 could result in a rise in poverty and, therefore,  an increase in child labour as households use every available means to survive. 

Some studies show that a 1% rise in poverty leads to at least a 0.7% increase in child labour in certain countries. 

“In times of crisis, child labour becomes a coping mechanism for many families,” said Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore. 

“As poverty rises, schools close and the availability of social services decreases, and more children are pushed into the workforce. 

“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.

Vulnerable population groups – such as those working in the informal economy and migrant workers – will suffer most from an economic downturn, increased informality and unemployment, the general fall in living standards, health shocks, and insufficient social protection systems, among other pressures. 

“Up until the current crises hit, Bangladesh had been making great strides in reducing child labour,” said Tuomo Poutiainen, Country director, ILO Bangladesh.

“Now more than ever, we must all work together to ensure these gains are not derailed by the ongoing pandemic. This timely report sheds light on the devastating impact of Covid-19 and provides the ILO, Government, Employers and Workers Organizations and other partners, the means and the evidence on how best to respond to the current crises.”

“The Covid-19 pandemic has a particularly negative impact on the lives, hopes and future of the most vulnerable children. Closure of schools and reduction of family income expose many children to the risk of child labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Studies have shown that the longer children are out of school, the less likely they are to return. We need to prioritize education and the protection of children now and throughout the duration of the pandemic,” said Tomoo Hozumi, Unicef Representative in Bangladesh.

Evidence is gradually mounting that child labour is rising as schools close in the pandemic.

Temporary school closures are currently affecting more than 1 billion learners in over 130 countries. Even when classes restart, some parents may no longer be able to afford to send their children to school.

As a result, more children could be forced into exploitative and hazardous jobs. Gender inequalities may also grow more acute, with girls particularly vulnerable to exploitation in agriculture and domestic work, the brief says.

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail