World Day Against Child Labor 2022

One in ten children in the world works instead of going to school


ROME (ILO News) – On 12 June, the World Day against Child Labor is celebrated, which this year focuses on universal social protection as a means of ending child labor around the world. The day aims to make everyone aware of the need and urgency to take measures to put an end to the unacceptable forms of exploitation of children and adolescents in the world of work.

This year’s World Day marks the end of the Fifth World Conference on Child Labor, held last May in Durban, South Africa, and brought together governments, employers and workers’ organizations of ILO member states, as well as other partners who are active in the fight against child labor. The conference adopted the Durban Call to Action on the Elimination of Child Labor, which proposes a series of priority measures, and calls for the need to build efforts to free the world of child labor. To pursue the appeal, the ILO calls on governments to increase investment in social protection systems and programs and to guarantee universal access to free and quality compulsory education.

The appeal comes at a critical moment, because – despite the one-off progress of the last two decades following the adoption of the ILO Convention n. 182 on the worst forms of child labor of 1999 – Child labor is back in growth in recent years. Shortly before the start of the pandemic, 160 million children and adolescents worldwide (one in ten of the world’s population) worked instead of going to school. The economic crisis generated by pandemics, conflicts and other humanitarian disasters puts more children and young people at risk of job exploitation. Without taking measures to reduce the impact of the ongoing crises and conflicts, the ILO estimates that child labor could increase by almost 9 million by the end of 2022. This is a paradox when one considers that today there are around 207 million young people of working age and adults. who would like a job but can’t find it.

Prepared by the International Labor Office and the UNICEF Institute of the Innocent in Florence, the new ILO / UNICEF report shows that, even before the pandemic, less than half of the world population (or 46.9%) belong to only one of the social Benefit protection has benefits. The coverage for children was even lower: 1.5 billion children (3/4 of the world population as a whole in childhood) did not benefit from any social protection measures.

Child labor continues to be a global phenomenon and all countries are affected, both directly and through the channels of world trade and worldwide supply chains. Italy is also not free from pockets of exploitation of child labor. EUROSTAT polls show that in 2020, in Italy, one in four minors (or 24.9%) was at risk of poverty and social exclusion1 . The report by the Guarantee Authority for Childhood and Adolescence, published earlier this month, shows that early school leaving of secondary school students (ages 11-14) mainly affects children and adolescents in the southern regions and the Islands, with Sicily recorded highest rates. In these regions, the report points to an apparent correlation between school dropout and child labor, particularly affecting children between 14 and 15 years of age.2 .

“In general, child labor in Italy remains hidden due to the lack of statistical and administrative data. The data are the starting point and the indispensable tool for monitoring the phenomenon and implementing effective interventions based on the individual needs and characteristics of children and on the specifics of the various economic sectors and geographical areas most affected, “said Gianni Rosas, Director of the ILO Office for Italy and San Marino.

Social protection and quality education are universal and unforgettable human rights. Their efficiency guarantees families to remain immune from child labor, especially in times of multiple and related crises such as the current one. Even today, the poor work of many young people of working age and many adults is one of the main reasons why families are forcing their children to be sent to work instead of to school.

“Exclusion from education and training is often systemic. It is also at the root of child labor, underpaid and poor quality jobs, and labor market segmentation. It is very likely that a child who did not go to school because he was forced to is to work, will be a bad worker during his working life, “Rosas added.

All of this creates a chain of poverty and social exclusion that can be passed on from one generation to the next. To break this chain, synergistic action is needed through the implementation of interventions on the education and training of children and adolescents – including early action to prevent school dropouts and child labor, the adoption of measures on access to social protection for all and the implementation of policies to promote decent work for young people and adults, especially for those most at risk, as they are rejected in contexts of economic and social marginalization. Only in this way will it be possible to achieve the milestone 8.7 of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to halt child labor in all its forms by 2025.

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