Connect with us

World News

Are we losing the fight against child labor?




Are we losing the fight against child labor?

When global coronavirus lockdowns and economic disruptions closed schools and curtailed millions of families’ income, an alarming increase in child labor across developing nations made headlines. But even before the pandemic, the number of children forced to work was on the rise.

A report by the International Labor Organization found that 160 million children around the world are engaged in child labor — nearly one child in 10. Using data that predates the pandemic, the report revealed that the declines in child labor made since 2000 have reversed.

“The new estimates are a wake-up call,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said in a statement. “We cannot stand by while a new generation of children is put at risk.”

Similar to other recent evaluations conducted by children’s rights groups, the report paints a grim picture: More than half of child workers take on hazardous jobs that pose a direct threat to their health and safety, such as mining and farm work. Younger children, between the ages of 5 and 11, account for just over half of the total number of child laborers.

What stopped declines in child labor?

The biggest increase recorded in the ILO report was seen in sub-Saharan Africa. That’s largely because “development in those countries has not kept up with population growth,” according to Furio Rosati, a senior researcher at IZA Institute of Labor Economics. With more children being born into poor households and a general lack of government support, he said the kids are too often pushed into the workforce to support their families.

Lack of government support is one of the reasons for the increase in child labor, according to Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Advocacy Director Jo Becker.

“Governments are not providing adequate assistance for families that are struggling to meet their basic needs,” Becker said. “Even though we know that this is a tool that was really successful in many countries in reducing child labor in the past.”

Becker oversaw a study published in May showing that monthly cash allowances of $1 per child could spare tens of thousands of children from taking risky, grueling jobs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, reports done by Human Rights Watch and children advocacy groups recorded additional cases of child labor in middle-income countries, such as India. A focus on the coronavirus pandemic also made it harder to trace child labor in many countries.

“Following the lockdowns and COVID restriction measures, most governments scaled back their monitoring programs, which made it easier for the employers to exploit child workers,” Becker said. “So many more cases remain unseen.”

Futures in peril

Reports from the ILO and rights groups show that the future of millions of more children will be in jeopardy if government spending on children and families in need is not increased. But a boost to child welfare support appears unlikely due to the prospect of shrinking national budgets and because loan creditors like IMF tend to encourage, and in some cases require, low-income countries hard hit by the pandemic’s economic fallout to adopt strict austerity measures.

“In theory, austerity measures aim to cut down on government spendings without curbing the support to the poor and deteriorating their livelihood, but in reality that is very often not the case,” Rosati said.

Child workers in lower-income countries will most likely continue to suffer, he said.

“At the moment, governments and international organizations allocate most of their resources to fighting the pandemic, which in turn, limits the little support provided for the poor households,” Rosati said.

Some countries that had made progress in education and school enrollments in the past could see those gains disappear.

“As many jobs in middle-income countries such as India are still lost, many children, most of whom are now in primary and secondary school will be forced to halt education, enter the informal job market and work as low-skilled workers,” Rosati said.

If that happens, there could be another surge in the number of children forced to work, he said.



Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

Follow Thaiger by email:

Cambodia25 mins ago

Rollout of Covid-19 vaccination for teenagers gets underway in Cambodia

Phuket50 mins ago

Man goes missing off Freedom Beach, Phuket

Phuket50 mins ago

Phuket tourism sector calls for island to be “green-listed” for foreign tourists – VIDEO

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Guides1 hour ago

Phuket’s best day trips and tours

Business1 hour ago

What is so important about the Sandbox?

Tourism1 hour ago

Thailand’s foreign tourist numbers expected to plummet during 2021

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Central Thailand2 hours ago

Nurse dies of Covid-19 a week after receiving first dose of Sinovac

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 18,901 new cases and 147 deaths

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Government says ongoing vaccination and obeying the rules will drive infections down

Insurgency14 hours ago

Suspected insurgent wanted for murder killed by forces in Pattani

Thailand17 hours ago

Phang Nga reopening and “Phuket Sandbox” island hop extensions postponed

Best of17 hours ago

Bangkok’s 5 best SHA Plus Certified hotels

Best of17 hours ago

Top 5 steakhouses in Phuket

Thailand18 hours ago

Bangkok Train Market official says they will reopen

Thailand18 hours ago

August vaccination plan: 80% of Bangkok residents; open to general public, expats

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8