World Day against Child Labour 2020: Significance, Theme, Steps taken to eradicate...

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The World Day Against Child Labour is observed on June 12 in almost 100 countries all around the globe every year.

Almost one in ten children worldwide is forced into child labour according to some reports. While the total number of children in child labour has declined since 2000, this rate has also seen a slowdown by two-thirds in the recent years.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched World Day Against Child Labour in 2002, after which the day has been annually celebrated to raise awareness about the plight of child labourers worldwide and steps one can take to eradicate this social evil.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are about 152 million children globally who are engaged in child labour, 72 million of whom are in hazardous work.

History of World Day Against Child Labour

In 2002, the United Nations body that regulates the world of work, the International Labour Organization (ILO), launched the World Day Against Child Labour to ensure a normal childhood for the many children in the age group 5 to 17 and providing them with adequate education, proper health care, leisure time or just basic freedom.

Significance of World Day Against Child Labour

June 12 is marked as World Day Against Child Labour to bring attention to the global issue of child labour and to find ways to eradicate it. The day is marked to spread awareness about the adverse mental and physical issues faced by children forced into child labour, worldwide. The day also works as an opportunity for people to develop efficient mechanisms to combat issues that lead to child labour.

Theme for World Day Against Child Labour 2020

As per the United Nation’s official website, World Day Against Child Labour 2020 focuses on the impact of the crisis on child labour. The COVID-19 health pandemic and the subsequent economic slowdown and labour market shock are having a huge impact on many a lives and livelihoods. The crisis might push millions of vulnerable children into child labour.

This year, the World Day Against Child Labouri is conducted as a virtual campaign and is being organised along with the Global March Against Child Labour and the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture (IPCCLA). The

ILO and UNICEF are also developing a simulation model to look at the impact of COVID-19 on child labour globally.

As per a report by the UNICEF and ILO titled COVID-19 and child labour: A Time of Crisis, A Time to Act, “As economic contraction reduces opportunities in the labour market for parents, it can push their children into hazardous and exploitative work. The COVID-19 crisis is causing an unprecedented drop-off in economic activity and working time.”

“Global working hours fell in the first quarter of 2020 by an estimated 4.5 per cent compared to the final quarter of 2019. This adds up to approximately 130 million full-time jobs, assuming a 48-hour work week. Global working hours in the second quarter are expected to be 10.5 per cent lower, equivalent to 305 million full-time jobs.”

“Fewer employment opportunities and lower wages can drive people into informal or exploitative work, which can further suppress wages and in turn contribute to child labour. Compared to adults, children are more likely to accept work for less pay and in vulnerable conditions. Businesses may deliberately recruit children to cut costs and boost earnings. Even with lower wages and fewer jobs, the number of people working increases when households cannot survive without working.”

These numbers and shift were documented during the Indonesian financial crisis, which produced growth in hours per worker and the number of workers in rural areas. Much of the growth in work was in household-based activities, since households became less reliant on wage income and less specialized in how they earned a living.

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