Global Child Labour Estimates

Child Labour Estimates

Released ahead of the World Day Against Child Labour on 12th June, a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF  – Child Labour: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward  – warns that progress to end child labour has stalled for the first time in 20 years, reversing the previous downward trend that saw child labour fall by 94 million between 2000 and 2016.

The latest global estimates indicate that 160 million children – 63 million girls and 97 million boys – were in child labour globally at the
beginning of 2020, accounting for almost 1 in 10 of all children worldwide. Seventy-nine million children – nearly half of all those in child labour – were in hazardous work that directly endangers their health, safety and moral development.

The COVID-19 crisis threatens to further erode global progress against child labour unless urgent mitigation measures are taken. New
analysis suggests a further 8.9 million children will be in child labour by the end of 2022 as a result of rising poverty driven by the pandemic. Yet the predicted additional rise in child labour is by no means a foregone conclusion. The actual impact will depend on policy responses. Two additional scenarios demonstrate the huge influence of social protection coverage on child labour in the near
term. Where social protection coverage is allowed to slip, a significant further increase in child labour could occur by the end of 2022. A rise in social protection coverage, on the other hand, could more than offset the impact of COVID-19 on child labour, returning us to progress on the issue.

Other key finding of the report include:

  • Involvement in child labour is higher for boys than girls at all ages.
  • Child labour is much more common in rural areas.
  • Most child labour – for boys and girls alike – continues to occur in agriculture.
  • The largest share of child labour takes place within families.
  • Child labour is frequently associated with children being out of school.

For more information download a copy of the report on Global Estimates of child Labour here.

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