In a bid to encourage legislative and practical action to eradicate child labour worldwide, the International Labour Organization (ILO), in collaboration with the Alliance 8.7 global partnership, is set to launch the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.
To this end, a virtual event will be held on 21 January to launch the International Year.
The International Year was unanimously adopted in a United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution in 2019, said a press statement issued on Friday.
Alliance 8.7 is a global partnership that aims to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking, and child labour around the world, as outlined the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The aim of the year is to urge governments to do everything necessary to achieve Target 8.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Target 8.7 asks member states to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking as well as secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour – including the recruitment and use of child soldiers. It aims to end child labour in all its forms by 2025.
A range of stakeholders will participate in the event, including: ILO Director General Guy Ryder, Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore, Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, and child labour survivor and activist Amar Lal.
Throughout the year a number of events will raise awareness about a problem that affects one in 10 children.
The joint initiative encourages regional, national and organisational stakeholders and individuals to identify concrete actions they will take by December 2021, to help end child labour.
The deadline to submit these Action Pledges is 30 March. Pledge makers are invited to document their efforts and progress throughout the year, through: videos, interviews, blogs, and impact stories.
In the last 20 years, almost 100 million children have been removed from child labour, bringing numbers down from 246 million in 2000 to 152 million in 2016.
However, progress across regions is uneven. Almost half of child labour happens in Africa, affecting 72 million children, followed by Asia and the Pacific, affecting 62 million children.
Around 70% of children in child labour work in agriculture, mainly in subsistence and commercial farming and livestock herding.
Almost half of these children work in occupations or situations considered hazardous for their health and lives.
The Covid-19 crisis has brought additional poverty to these already vulnerable populations and may reverse years of progress in the fight against child labour.
School closures have aggravated the situation and many millions of children are working to contribute to their family's income. The pandemic has also made women, men and children more vulnerable to exploitation.
The International Year will prepare the ground for the V Global Conference on Child Labour (VGC) that will take place in South Africa in 2022, where stakeholders will share experiences and make additional commitments towards ending child labour in all its forms by 2025, and forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery by 2030.
The ILO has been working for the abolition of child labour throughout its 100 year-history. One of the first Conventions its members adopted was on Minimum Age in Industry.