World Day against Child Labour 2020: Theme, importance in times of Covid-19

There are an estimated 152 million children in child labour. Photo: Shutterstock
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are about 152 million children globally who are engaged in child labour, 72 million of whom are in hazardous work. With the coronavirus pandemic set to lead the world into a recession, these children are now at an even greater risk of facing circumstances even more difficult and working longer hours. The World Day against Child Labour, held every year on June 12, is intended to foster the worldwide movement against child labour in any of its forms. This year's theme focuses on the urgent need to protect children from under-age labour, especially in the world of Covid-19.

World Day against Child Labour 2020 theme — Covid-19: Protect Children from Child Labour, now more than ever! 

World Day against Child Labour 2020 focuses on the impact of the crisis on child labour. The coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic and labour market shock have had a huge imapct on the lives of millions, and children are often the worst sufferers. The Covid-19 crisis has pushed thousands of vulnerable children into child labour, according United Nations. This year, a virtual campaign is being organised jointly with the Global March Against Child Labour and the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture (IPCCLA).

Covid-19 crisis has pushed thousands of vulnerable children into child labour, according United Nations. Photo: Shutterstock

Child labour in India: Impact of coronavirus lockdown on the poor children

On April 26, Nobel Laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urged his government to rescue child labourers. "Extraordinary situations call for extraordinary steps... I strongly feel that in order to save the lives of children trapped in slavery and child labour across the country, this step is the only option left," Satyarthi wrote after a young girl stranded by the coronavirus lockdown died of exhaustion while walking back to her village. 

There are more than 10 million child labourers in India, according to the last census, and many are kept confined to the workplace by employers. Images on television have often shown the degree of suffering that these children face. Many children were among migrant workers who started walking back to their villages with little money or food.

There are more than 10 million child labourers in India, according to the last census, and many are kept confined to the workplace by employers. Photo: Shutterstock

About World Day against Child Labour

The World Day against Child Labour was first launched in 2002 to raise awareness and prevent child labour. The ILO, the United Nations body that works on global labour-related issues, launched the World Day against Child Labour to bring attention and join efforts to fight against child labour. This day brings together governments, local authorities, civil society and international, workers and employers organizations to point out the child labour problem and define the guidelines to help child labourers. According to ILO's data, hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are involved in work that deprives them of receiving an adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating this way their rights. Of these children, more than half are exposed to the worst forms of child labour. These worst forms of child labour include work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour, illicit activities such as drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.

According to ILO's data, hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are involved in work that deprives them of receiving an adequate education, health. Photo: Shutterstock

World Day against child labour themes

2020: Covid-19: Protect Children from Child Labour, now more than ever! 
2019: Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams! 
2018: Generation Safe & Healthy 
2017: In conflicts and disasters, protect children from child labour 
2016: End child labour in supply chains - It's everyone's business! 
2015: NO to child labour – YES to quality education! 
2014: Extend social protection: combat child labour! 
2013: No to child labour in domestic work
2012: Human rights and social justice... let's end child labour 
2011: Warning! Children in hazardous work 
2010: Go for the goal... end child labour 
2009: Give girls a chance: End child labour 
2008: Education: The right response to child labour 
2007: Child labour and agriculture 
2006: The end of child labour: Together we can do it! 
2005: A load too heavy: Child labour in mining and quarrying 
2004: Behind closed doors: Child domestic labour 
2003: Trafficking in Children 
2002: A Future Without Child Labour



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