12th June is World Day Against Child Labour. This year’s theme is “Universal Social Protection to End Child Labour”. This year we make a call for increased investment in social protection systems, as part of an integrated and comprehensive approach to tackle poverty and child labour.
Poverty is often a catalyst for child labour. There is an urgent need to strengthen government social protection systems to fight poverty and vulnerability, and eradicate child labour.
Although there have been marked improvements in reducing child labour in the last two decades, progress has slowed over time; most recently impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, when lockdowns and the loss of jobs pushed many families deeper into poverty, forcing more children into labour.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), “At the beginning of 2020, 160 million children – 63 million girls and 97 million boys – were involved in child labour, accounting for almost 1 in 10 children worldwide.”
Social protection is a human right. It is the basic duty of every government to protect its people, especially children; to provide basic needs such as equal access healthcare and education, assistance and the appropriate tools to families to weather crises.
“However, as of 2020 and before the COVID-19 crisis took hold, only 46.9 per cent of the global population were effectively covered by at least one social protection benefit while the remaining 53.1 per cent – as many as 4.1 billion people – were left wholly unprotected. Coverage for children is even lower. Nearly three quarters of children, 1.5 billion, lacked social protection.” - ILO
Read more on the role of social protection in the elimination of child labour in a report by ILO and Unicef:
At the Global Child Labour Conference held recently in Durban, South Africa, the concluding document Durban Call to Action has called for strong commitment and urgent action to eliminate child labour, as the consequences of the pandemic, war, humanitarian and environmental crises threaten to reverse years of progress against child labour.
Read more here :