World Day Against Child Labour: COVID-19 Pandemic Lead More Children into Child Labour

KomnasAnak.com, INTERNATIONAL - According to the brief from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF, titled “COVID-19 and Child Laabour: A Time of Crisis, A Time to Act” released on Friday, child labour decreased by 94 million since 2000, but that gain is now at risk.

 

“Millions more children risk being pushed into child labour as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, which could lead to the first rise in child labour after 20 years of progress,” the agencies said.

 

The report released in the occasion on World Day Against Child Labour marked on June 12 said that children already in child labour may be working longer hours or under worsening conditions and more of them may be forced into the worst forms of labour, which cause significant harm to their health and safety.

 

The report noted that children are often the most available labour in households and when families need more financial support, they turn to children.

 

Evidence is also gradually mounting that child labour is rising as schools close during the pandemic, the agencies said adding that temporary school closures are currently affecting more than one billion learners in over 130 countries.

 

“Even when classes restart, some parent may no longer be able to afford to send their children to school,” they said.

 

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

 

According to the report, COVID-19 could result in a rise in poverty and therefore to an increase in child labour as households use every available means to survive. Some studies show that one percentage point rise in poverty leads to at least a 0.7 percent increase in child labour in certain countries.

 

“In time of crisis, child labour becomes a cping mechanism for many families,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said.

 

The brief proposes a number of measures to counter the threat if increased child labour, including more comprehensive social protection, easier access to credit for poor households, the promotion of decent work for adults, measures to get children back into school, including the elimination of school fees, and more resources for laboir inspections and law enforcement.

(Editor: Melina Nurul Khofifah)

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