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ILO finds pace in eliminating child labor 'too slow' to meet targets

September 25, 2013 · 


September 24, 2013 9:00pm

The number of child laborers worldwide declined by a third since 2000, but the pace is “still too slow” to meet targets, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said in its latest report.
The report “Marking Progress Against Child Labor” said the number of child laborers declined to 168 million in 2012 from 246 million in 2000. The 2012 figure constitutes 11 percent of the global population.But ILO said this pace is not enough to meet the target of eliminating the worst forms of child labor by 2016.“We are moving in the right direction but progress is still too slow,” ILO director general Guy Ryder said in a statement.

Around 85 million—down from 171 million in 2000 but still more than half of total child laborers in 2012—suffer the worst forms of labor, the report said.

The ILO said hazardous labor endangers the child’s health, safety and moral development.

“If we are serious about ending the scourge of child labor in the foreseeable future, then we need a substantial stepping-up of efforts at all levels. There are 168 million good reasons to do so,” Ryder said.

The Asia-Pacific region posted the largest decline—78 million in 2012 from 114 million in 2008—but still has the largest number of laborers in absolute terms.

ILO said the region has a child labor incidence rate at 9.3 percent of population. It also has the largest number of children suffering from the worst kind of labor—33.9 million of the total 85 million.

“An invigorated and aggressive drive is needed to finally consign child labor to the history books and let the children of Asia Pacific fulfill their potential,” said  Yoshiteru Uramoto, ILO regional director for Asia and the Pacific.

The Sub-Saharan African region registered the highest incidence of child labor at 21 percent of population, about 59 million from 65 million laborers four years earlier.

Meanwhile, Latin America and the Caribbean region had 13 million laborers – or 8.8 percent of population – from around 14 million in 2008.

Agriculture remains the sector with the most number of child laborers at 98 million or 59 percent of global population. Meanwhile, those of the informal economy in services sector (with 54 million laborers or 32 percent) and industry (12 million or 7.2 percent) are also gaining ground, the report said.

Child laborers cited in the report range from five to 17 years old.

The latest report comes a few weeks ahead of the Third Global Conference on Child Labor to be held in Brasilia in Brazil on October 8 to 10.  Marc Jayson Cayabyab/KBK, GMA News


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