The world has marked the first rise in child labour in two decades and the coronavirus crisis threatens to push millions more young people towards the same fate.
In a joint report released Wednesday, the International Labour Organization and the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, said the number in child labour stood at 160 million at the start of 2020 – an increase of 8.4 million in four years.
The hike began before the pandemic hit and marks a dramatic reversal of a downward trend that had seen child labour numbers shrink by 94 million between year 2000 and 2016
The report said just as the Covid-19 crisis is beginning to pick up steam, nearly one in 10 children globally are stuck in child labour, with sub-Saharan Africa being the worst affected.
While the percentage of children in child labour remains the same as in 2016 population growth meant the numbers rose significantly and the pandemic risks worsening the situation significantly.