Act now against child labour
Did you know that almost one in ten of all children worldwide are in child labour? While the number of children in child labour has declined by 94 million since 2000, the rate of reduction slowed by two-thirds in recent years. Target 8.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals calls for an end to child labour in all its forms by 2025. How can the world community get firmly on track toward eliminating child labour?
Children all around the world are regularly engaged in paid and unpaid forms of work that can substantially be harmful to them. They are classified as child labourers when they are either too young to work, or are involved in hazardous activities that may compromise their physical, mental, social or educational development. In the least developed countries, slightly more than one in four children (ages 5 to 17) are engaged in labour that is considered detrimental to their physical and mental health as well as personal and social development.
Child labour is still very prevalent nowadays, and it is important to keep in mind that according to the United Nations website, Africa ranks highest among regions both in the percentage of children in child labour — one-fifth — and the absolute number of children in child labour — 72 million. Asia and the Pacific ranks second highest in both these measures — 7% of all children and 62 million in absolute terms are in child labour in this region.
The Africa and the Asia and the Pacific regions together account for almost nine out of every ten children in child labour worldwide. The remaining child labour population is divided among the Americas (11 million), Europe and Central Asia (6 million), and the Arab States (1 million). In terms of incidence, 5% of children are in child labour in the Americas, 4% in Europe and Central Asia, and 3% in the Arab States.
For this year’s World Day, a “Week of Action” will be launched around 12 June, starting with the launch of the new global estimates on child labour. The events and activities carried out during this week will be an opportunity for partners to showcase progress in carrying out their “2021 Action Pledges.” All pledges made by regional, national and organizational stakeholders and individuals will be featured on the website for the 2021 International Year. In this month, the ILO and UNICEF will release new global estimates and trends on child labour, under the aegis of Alliance 8.7. The report will include an assessment of how the pace of progress towards ending child labour is likely to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented economic crisis that has accompanied it.
World Day Against Child Labour aims to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. Each year, the World Day brings together governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society, as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child laborers and what can be done to help them.
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