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FACTBOX-Ten facts about rising child labour around the world

by Emeline Wuilbercq | @EmWuilbercq | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 10 June 2021 15:52 GMT

A child cycles his bike across a quiet shopping street following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in St Helens, Britain, August 12, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble

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The United Nations says child labour is on the rise for the first time in 20 years

By Emeline Wuilbercq

ADDIS ABABA, June 10 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The United Nations says child labour is on the rise for the first time in 20 years, with millions more young people at risk of becoming child labourers due to the economic shocks and school closures caused by COVID-19.

Here are 10 facts about where and why child labour persists, ahead of Saturday's World Day Against Child Labour:

1. Every day, more than 5,700 children enter the child labour workforce for the first time.

2. An estimated 97 million boys and 63 million girls are child labourers.

3. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to most of the world's child labourers, with some 87 million, or 24%, of children in work, and little progress in ending SCRIchild labour in recent years.

4. Child labour is falling steadily in Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean, where about 6% of children work.

5. Agriculture is the most common sector for child labour, employing 112 million, or 70%, of working children, while 20% work in services and 10% in industry.

6. Almost three-quarters of child labour takes place within families and often due to poverty, the sudden illness of a caregiver, or job loss of a primary wage earner.

7. More than one-third of child labourers aged 5 to 17 are out of school, severely constraining their prospects for decent work and their overall life potential.

8. Child labour can result in extreme bodily and mental harm, and even death as children can be exposed to injuries, sexual and physical abuse and slavery.

9. Global progress against child labour has stalled for the first time in two decades and the COVID-19 crisis is likely to push a further 8.9 million children into child labour by the end of 2022 without action.

10. Solutions to reduce child labour include universal child benefits, getting children back into the classroom and promoting decent work for adults. Sources: International Labour Organization, U.N. Children's Fund.

Related links:

Child labour rises globally for the first time in decades

Governments urged to boost cash grants to end pandemic-fuelled child labour

Africa's children need to get back to school to avoid 'lost generation'

(Reporting by Emeline Wuilbercq; Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

This material has been funded by UK aid from the UK government; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.

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