*Says pandemic robs children of future, deepens family’s poverty level
By Victor Ahiuma-Young
The International Labour Organisation, ILO, has raises the alarm that rampaging COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the crisis of child labour across the globe, lamenting that it has brought additional poverty to already vulnerable populations and may reverse years of progress in the fight against child labour.
According to the organisation, school closures have aggravated the situation and millions of children are working to contribute to the family income.
In a statement in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, ILO contended that the pandemic had also made women, men and children more vulnerable to exploitation.
Consequently, ILO in collaboration with the Alliance 8.7 global partnership, will Thursday launched the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, to encourage legislative and practical actions to eradicate child labour worldwide.
ILO informed that “in the last 20 years almost 100 million children have been removed from child labour, bringing numbers down from 246 million in 2000 to 152 million in 2016.
“There is no place for such in society. It robs children of their future and keeps families in poverty.
“However, progress across regions is uneven. Almost half of child labour happens in Africa (72 million children), followed by Asia and the Pacific (62 million). 70 percent of children in that condition work in agriculture, mainly in subsistence and commercial farming and livestock herding.
“Almost half of all these children work in occupations or situations considered hazardous for their health and lives.”
Speaking, ILO’s Director-General, Guy Ryder, lamented that the COVID-19 crisis had brought additional poverty to already vulnerable populations and might reverse years of progress in the fight against it.
According to him, “School closures have aggravated the situation and many millions of children are working to contribute to the family income. The pandemic has also made women, men and children more vulnerable to exploitation. There is no place for child labour in society.
“It robs children of their future and keeps families in poverty. 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 it for good. With COVID-19 threatening to reverse years of progress, we need to deliver on promises now more than ever.”
Recall that the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour was unanimously adopted in a United Nations, UN, General Assembly resolution in 2019.
The aim of the year is to urge governments to do what is necessary to achieve Target 8.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
Target 8.7 asks member-states to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 to end child labour in all its forms.