New global estimates on child labour released by the ILO and UNICEF show that child labour has increased for the first time in twenty years.
At the beginning of 2020, 160 million children were in child labour globally, accounting for almost 1 in 10 of all children worldwide.
This is an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years, with a significant rise in the number of children aged 5 to 11 years affected.
The new estimates warn that nine million additional children globally are at risk of being pushed into child labour by the end of 2022 as a result of the economic and social shocks of the coronavirus pandemic and school closures. This number could rise to 46 million more children in child labour if critical protection is not secured.
Children in slavery experience psychosocial trauma at a critical stage of their development. This, alongside a lack of their rights to education, health and care, affects opportunities throughout their lives, often trapping them in slavery as adults.
The UN declared 2021 to be the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour – a global call to end child labour in all its forms by 2025.