News 19 September 2017

New global estimates on child labour from the ILO

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ICI’s Board Advisor, ILO,  has launched today the new global estimates of child labour for the 2012—2016 period. According to the report Global Estimates of Child Labour: Results and trends, 2012-2016 , there are currently 151.6 million children in child labour. This represents a drop of 94 million since 2000 and a drop of 16 million since the ILO’s latest 2012 estimates.

Nearly half of the children do hazardous work (72.5 million) and almost a third are completely outside of the education system. The study also found that 71% of the children work in agriculture and 69 % work within their own family unit.

One in five children in Africa is involved in child labour, making it the region at greatest risk . The authors of the report believe that “a breakthrough in Africa will be critical to ending child labour worldwide”. Although child labour globally has declined, in sub-Saharan Africa it has slightly increased (from 21.4% in 2012 to 22.4% in 2016).

From the 151.5 million of children aged between 5 and 17 who were in child labour globally in 2016,  64 million are girls and 88 million boys.  It is important to know that household chores, for which responsibility falls mostly on girls, are not part of the estimates.Girls account for two-thirds of the 54 million children aged 5–14 years who perform household chores for at least 21 hours per week.

The highest absolute number of children in child labour was in Africa (72.1 million), followed by Asia and the Pacific (62 million), the Americas (10.7 million), Europe and Central Asia (5.5 million) and the Arab States (1.2 million).

According to ILO, the new estimates show that we are moving in the right direction, but they also warn that actions need to be scaled up and accelerated if we stand a chance to meet the 2025 goal of eradicating child labour. The business-as-usual scenario, based on the progress achieved between 2012 and 2016, will leave 121 million children still in child labour 8 years from now.

The new global estimates are a collective effort from members of Alliance 8.7, the global partnership to end forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour that brings together key partners representing governments, UN organisations, the private sector, workers’ and employers’ organizations and civil society in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7.

Links for the global estimates on child labour:

Full report | Website with key findings | FAQ | Executive summary