Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the globe has seen a rise in the use of child workers, the International Labor Organization (ILO) warned on the eve of Sunday, June 12, World Day Against Child Labor.
ILO figures from numerous countries indicate a rising trend in child labor in the post-pandemic period due to worsening economic conditions, Benjamin Smith, the organization’s senior officer on child labor, told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.
Before the pandemic, there were some 160 million child laborers globally, Smith said, but 9 million more children might join the ranks of laborers by the end of this year.
Underscoring that child laborers are generally found in the informal economy, he said the children’s poor financial situation plays an important role in this situation.
Most of the child laborers, around 70%, are employed in the agricultural sector, he said.
According to a joint report by the ILO and UNICEF, around half of the 160 million child laborers, aged 5-17, are employed in hazardous work.
Since 2008, the Asia-Pacific, South America, and Caribbean regions made stable progress in reducing the number of child laborers while the situation in Africa grew even worse.
To promote awareness of the issue, since 2002 the ILO has marked June 12 as World Day Against Child Labor.