The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have published a report ‘Child Labour: Global Estimates 2020, Trends and the Road Forward’. It is published as part of the observances for the World Day Against Child Labour which takes place annually on 12th June, and as part of the wider engagement with 2021 being the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.  

The latest global estimates indicate that 160 million children – 63 million girls and 97 million boys – were in child labour globally at the beginning of 2020, accounting for almost 1 in 10 of all children worldwide, with 79 million being in hazardous work that directly endangers their health, safety and moral development. 

The report describes the scale and key characteristics of child labour today, and changes over time and, alarmingly, shows that global progress against child labour has stalled for the first time. According to the estimates, the Covid-19 crisis is likely to push a further 8.9 million children into child labour by the end of 2022 as a result of rising poverty driven by the pandemic.  

The report sets out steps that are needed to avoid falling further behind during thee ongoing Covid-19 crisis, emphasising measures such as expanding income support measures for families in situations of vulnerability, through child benefits and other means. Importance is also assigned to back-to-school campaigns and remedial learning to get children back in the classroom and help them make up for lost learning once there, when conditions permit. 

Ultimately, the report summarises that urgent action is needed to put the goal of ending child labour back on track, in line with global commitments. 

For the full report, please see here.