Child labour rises 1st time in 20 years, Nobel laureate demands action from world leaders on G7 eve

Published on Jun 10, 2021 06:17 PM IST

The United Nations on Thursday said one in 10 children are involved in work worldwide and millions more are at risk due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The number of child labourers increased to 160 million from 152 million in 2016.(File Photo. Representative image)
The number of child labourers increased to 160 million from 152 million in 2016.(File Photo. Representative image)
By | Written by Deepali Sharma | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

As the child labour swells for the first time in 20 years, Nobel Peace Laureate and founder of Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation, Kailash Satyarthi on Thursday demanded action from world leaders to eradicate the exploitative practice.

"On the eve of the @G7, this appalling rise in child labour poses the strongest moral challenge to our world leaders. Will they acknowledge this impact of growing inequality, or conduct business as usual by forgetting our children?" Satyarthi said on the eve of G7 summit.

The United Nations on Thursday said one in 10 children are involved in work worldwide and millions more are at risk due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reported Reuters.

The number of child labourers increased to 160 million from 152 million in 2016. Africa saw the greatest rise due to population growth, crises and poverty, said International Labour Organization (ILO) and the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), reported Reuters.

Also read: Taj Mahal among 50 'religious places' identified to combat child labour, begging

"It is shameful that we are seeing the first rise in child labour in 20 years! New and bold steps must be taken. It is time to create a Global Social Protection Fund and national social protection floors. We need a fair share to end child labour," Satyarthi tweeted with the hashtag #FairShareToEndChildLabour and #EndChildLabour2021.

"There is no excuse or justification for an increase in child labour! Even before the pandemic began, over 16 million more young children in child labour. In the same 4 years, the world got richer by $10 trillion. Please, wake up!" he added.

Citing India's situation, he said his foundation Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), which claims to be a grassroots movement protecting children and ensuring their rehabilitation and education, rescued over 11,000 children along with government authorities during the lockdown. He said India has created strict laws against the practice and urged everyone to come together to make sure "no child is forced to work to survive".

"We are losing ground in the fight against child labour, and the last year has not made that fight any easier," Reuters quoted UNICEF's executive director Henrietta Fore as saying ahead of World against Child Labour Day on June 12.

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