Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 393, 16 June 2021

Child labour: 160 million children, one in ten, are engaged in labour, says the new ILO-UNICEF repor
Apoorva Sudhakar

In the news
On 12 June, countries observed World Day Against Child Labour marking the 2021 International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. 

On 10 June, a new report titled "Child Labour: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward" published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) says progress towards ending child labour has come to a standstill for the first time since 2000. The UNICEF Executive Director said: "We are losing ground in the fight against child labour, and the last year has not made that fight any easier." Similarly, the ILO Director-General said: "The new estimates are a wake-up call. We cannot stand by while a new generation of children is put at risk."

The global estimates have been released every four years since 2000 with data pertaining to children aged between 5 to 17. The latest report reveals that in the beginning of 2020, "160 million children – 63 million girls and 97 million boys" were engaged in child labour; 86 million fewer than when the first global estimates were released in 2000. However, it says the COVID-19 pandemic is hindering progress and estimates that by the end of 2022, 8.9 million more children will be in child labour.

Issues at large
First, the persistent problem of child labour. The prevalence of child labour can be traced back to centuries; developed countries of the modern-day employed children as young as ten, as could be seen during the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century. However, with the passage of time, development, and the introduction of several conventions, child labour became concentrated in the developing countries of Asia, Latin America, and Africa. In the late 20th century, the ILO framed two Conventions on child labour; ILO Convention 138 on Minimum Age was adopted in 1973, and Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour was adopted in 1999. Developed countries have made significant progress in implementing these Conventions; however, developing countries have not. For example, the latest estimates highlight that child labour in sub-Saharan Africa has been rising since 2012 against Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean where child labour has fallen. It says that the number of children in sub-Saharan Africa is greater than in the world combined.

Second, major highlights of the report. It says that roughly one in 10 children globally is in child labour. The absolute number of children in child labour, and specifically in hazardous work, increased by eight million and 6.5 million respectively. Further, it states that 16.8 million more children were in child labour in the 5 to 11 age group in the latest estimates against the 2016 estimates. Of the total 160 million, 112 million children are in agriculture, three-quarters of them from the 5 to 11 age group.

Third, major recommendations. The report calls for extended social protection of children and the need to "address the heightened risk of child labour in growing crises, conflicts and disasters." It also highlights the necessity of "addressing gender norms and discrimination that increase child labour risks." Further, to address the impact of the pandemic, it calls for "sound policy choices and resources allocation decisions."

In perspective
First, the grave reality in the report implies that the end of child labour is not possible in the near future. Second, the fact that the ILO, which was established in 1919, took nearly nine decades to frame a Convention on children in hazardous work, reflects that child labour was never an important issue for policymakers. Further, developed countries having lower levels of child labour is not praiseworthy; manufacturing units, supply chains - like the mining industry or textile industry - are enablers of child labour. 

October 2021 | Conflict Alert # 447
The US: Protests against the Texas anti-abortion law
October 2021 | Conflict Alert # 444
Brazil: Anti-Bolsonaro protests across the country

September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 441
Yemen: Houthis continue to capture territories
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 439
Europe: Pride Marches in Serbia and Ukraine
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 437
Brazil: Protestors call for the impeachment of Bolsonaro
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 435
Guinea: Another coup in Africa
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 431
Climate Change: Hurricane Ida destructs the US Gulf Coast
August 2021 | Conflict Alert # 422
Europe: Measures to curb pandemic trigger protests
August 2021 | Conflict Alert # 418
Peru: Protests a sign of challenges facing Castillo
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 411
Wildfires: Siberia to the US
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 409
Bosnia: 26 years after the Srebrenica Massacre
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 405
Colombia: Two months of protests
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 399
Myanmar: New UNGA resolution
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 397
Myanmar: The Aung San Suu Kyi trial begins
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 390
Burkina Faso: Another massacre in Africa
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 386
Nigeria: Another mass abduction grips Niger state
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 385
Colombia: The protests continue
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 382
Israel-Hamas ceasefire: The long road to peace
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 380
Colombia: Three weeks of protests
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 378
Israel-Palestine: Who wants what?
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 374
Yemen: The Battle for Marib rages on
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 371
Pakistan: Meetings with Afghan leaders

April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 369
Israel-Syria: Continuing Missile Strikes
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 362
Iran: Another act of
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 358
India: Another Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 356
Global Gender Gap Report 2021: Main Takeaways
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 353
Niger: 137 massacred in the latest attack by gunmen
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 351
Yemen: Saudi Arabia announces ceasefire
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 347
Australia: Women fight against sexual violence 
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 345
The US: The George Floyd trial begins
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 340
Syria: UN report calls for a complete ceasefire

February 2021 | Conflict Alert # 333
South Korea: The 'Comfort Women' issue returns to haunt
January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 222
Russia: Pro-Navalny protests turn anti-government 
January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 220
COVID-19: The Vaccine Wars

December 2020 | Conflict Alert # 200
India: Farmers' protests intensify as deadlock persists

November 2020 | Conflict Alert # 191
Pakistan: Anti-French protests called off
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 174
Bangladesh: Protests intensify against sexual violence
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 167
India crosses 6 million-mark in COVID-19 cases
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 166
Pakistan: The persisting polio problem
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 156
Pakistan: Targeted Violence continues in Waziristan

September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 154
The anti-Racist Protests in the US: Between
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 148
Israel and UAE normalize relations

August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 146
Bolivia: Protests against the Election postponement
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 138
In Iraq, the protestors return to the streets 
July 2020 | Conflict Alert # 118
J&K: Geelani's Exit and Continuing Violence
June 2020 | Conflict Alert # 105
Black Lives Matter brings the US to its knees
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 86
Libya: Khalifa Haftar announces ceasefire 
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 81
India: The surge in violence in J&K
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 71
Afghanistan: 300 Taliban prisoners released

April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 67
Syria: New UN Report on Idlib

April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 64
A lethal impact on the Refugee/Migrant Camps 
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 63
Indigenous Communities battle a complete wipeout 

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 51
Coronavirus & China: Fall in numbers 

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 47
Coronavirus & Nepal: In the second stage, cancels

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 44
Two Presidents in Afghanistan
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 42
'Aurat March': A New beginning across Pakistan 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 38
Sri Lanka withdraws from 30/1 Geneva Resolution
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 35
A ceasefire between Israel, Islamic Jihad in Gaza

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 34
Libya: rivals withdraw from Geneva peace talks
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 33
India: Violence in Delhi
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 32
Afghanistan: Seven Days of Peace
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 31
Climate Change Fallouts: Impacts the Bird population

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 28
Pakistan: Court convicts LeT founder Hafiz Saeed
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 27
Pakistan: Suicide terrorism returns to haunt Quetta

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 26
Afghanistan: The US-Taliban Seven Day Deal
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 24
Israel: Violence in post  Trump-deal
January 2020 | Conflict Alert # 20
Kenya: Al Shabab and a week of killings
December 2019 | Conflict Alert # 19
Citizenship Amendment Bill:2019

November 2019 | Conflict Alert # 18
Lebanon: PM Hariri quits, but protests continue 
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 16
Bolivian unrest
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 15
Hundreds protest in Haiti

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 14
Protests rock Chile
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 13
Hong Kong Violence: A divide within
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 12
Spain: The trouble in Catalonia
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 11
Turkey's Offensive in Syria

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 9
Africa to be Polio Free
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 7
Myanmar: Teenage girls traded as brides to China

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 6
Moscow Protests: Thousands rally in Moscow
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 3
Jordan Restores diplomatic ties with Qatar