Brussels, Jun 11 (EFE).- For the first time in 20 years the number of children in child labor has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic and its socio economic impact, the European Commission said Friday ahead of World Day Against Child Labor.
“Despite the progress made globally over the years, in 2020, there were still 160 million children in child labor, with 79 million children trapped in hazardous work,” the statement read.
“This is a heavy blow, as for the first time in the past 20 years, we see an increase in the number of children in child labor,” it added.
Children forced into child labor have increased by 8.4 million over four years, putting millions of children at risk due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the United Nations.
Covid-19 is putting 9 million children at risk of being forced into child labor by the end of 2022, a rthaeport by the International Labor Organization and UNICEF showed.
The school closures caused by the pandemic mean that children who were already forced to work may be working longer hours and in worsening conditions.
The economic shock to vulnerable families may push many more into child labor.
Children are the most vulnerable to poverty, exclusion, inequalities and conflict, according to the EC.
“It is vital to assist countries to strengthen and expand their social protection schemes, to guarantee the continuity of accessible and quality education, and to ensure the capacity of labor inspection,” it urged.
“As we battle the coronavirus pandemic, we need to step up our efforts to prevent children’s rights from backsliding. We need to ensure that they are at the center of the global post-COVID-19 recovery,” it added. EFE