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Global child labourers hit 152m as ILO lists path to tackle menace

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Child labour

The number of child labourer across the world has grown to 152million, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has disclosed.

A new report by the global job watch body noted that child labour declined since in 2000, but the pace slowed down between 2012 and 2016. On current trends, 121 million children would still be engaged in child labour in 2025.

However, the report stressed the need for improving legal protections, labour market governance, social protections, access to quality education and social dialogue between governments, the social partners and other stakeholders are critical aspects in battling child labour.

The report was published as delegates gathered in Buenos Aires, Argentina for an international conference on the eradication of child labour.

The ILO has called for stepped-up efforts to, “consign child labour to the dustbin of history,” in a report released to coincide with the IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour, held in Buenos Aires recently.

“We are moving in the right direction, but we have to do so at a much faster rate,” the ILO said in its report Ending child labour by 2015: A review of policies and programmes.

The report lists four key policy ‘pillars’ in the fight against child labour: Boosting legal protections, improving the governance of labour markets and family enterprises, strengthening social protection and investing in free, quality education.

The report insisted that legislation alone cannot eradicate child labour, but at the same time, it won’t be possible to eradicate child labour without effective legislation.

More than 99.9 per cent of the world’s children aged 5-17 years are covered by the ILO’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No..182), which 181 countries have ratified. Also widely ratified is the Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, 1973 (No. 138), which 170 countries have ratified.

ILO observed that turning the standards into national laws remains a major challenge, as is ensuring effective monitoring and enforcement of existing child labour laws.

“There is also a need for stronger labour inspection systems as it rarely reaches workplaces in the informal economy, where most child labour is found.

“Work for adults and youth of legal working age that delivers a fair income and security means that households do not have to resort to child labour to meet basic needs or to deal with economic uncertainty. Well-designed labour market policies focused on where most child labour persists – in the rural economy and the informal economy – can help curb the demand for child labour.



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