Child labour rises globally for the first time in decades
ADDIS ABABA, June 10 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Child labour has risen for the first time in 20 years, the United Nations said on Thursday, with one in 10 children in work worldwide and millions more at risk due to COVID-19.
The number of child labourers has increased to 160 million from 152 million in 2016, with the greatest rise in Africa due to population growth, crises and poverty, said the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“We are losing ground in the fight against child labour, and the last year has not made that fight any easier,” UNICEF’s executive director Henrietta Fore said in a statement, ahead of the World Day Against Child Labour on June 12.
“Now, well into a second year of global lockdowns, school closures, economic disruptions, and shrinking national budgets, families are forced to make heart-breaking choices.”
The U.N. has made 2021 the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, saying urgent action is needed to meet a goal of ending the practice by 2025.