June 12 marks World Day Against Child Labour – an annual event to raise awareness of the economic and social consequences of child labour on children.
Around the world, at least 160 million children above the age of five – nearly 10 percent – are involved in child labour.
According to the UN, children are classified as child labourers when they are either too young to work, or are involved in hazardous activities that may compromise their physical, mental, social or educational development.
The largest share of child labour around the world is in the agriculture sector, accounting for 70 percent of children aged 5 to 17 in work.
At least 79 million children around the world are involved in hazardous work, which often poses a risk to the health and safety of the child.
Child labour not only deprives children of the right to education but also limits opportunities for growth, restricts their rights, and limits their future opportunities, which can lead to a vicious cycle of poverty.
Many children are forced to work in unsanitary conditions, often without safety gear. Anything that could harm a child’s health and mental wellbeing is considered hazardous work. This includes work in agriculture, mining, construction, and manufacturing, as well as hotels, bars, restaurants, markets, and domestic services.
Africa has the largest number of children in hazardous work, with 41.4 million five- to 17-year-olds working in risky conditions followed by Asia and the Pacific (22.2 million), Europe and Central Asia (7.9 million), the Americas (5.7 million) and Arab states (1.9 million).
More male children are working
Of the estimated 160 million children engaged in child labour, 63 million are girls and 97 million are boys.
Around the world, 11.2 percent of boys aged five to 17 work as child labourers compared with 7.8 percent of all girls.
According to a new ILO-UNICEF report, it is estimated that without mitigation strategies, the number of children in child labour could rise by 8.9 million by the end of 2022, due to higher poverty and increased vulnerability.