June 12-World Day Against Child Labor

 3/5 Min ⏰

Every child has the right to health, education, and protection, and every society has a stake in expanding children’s opportunities in life. Yet, around the world, millions of children are denied a fair chance for no reason other than the country, gender, or circumstances into which they are born. But based on ILO reports 160 million children worldwide are in child labor – many in dangerous conditions.

Child Labor: Global estimates and trends

160 M- Approximately 160 million children worldwide are involved in child labor, which represents 1 in 1o children. 

85.5 M- From 2000 to 2020, child labor decreased by 85.5 million, dropping from 16% to 9.6%. 

26.4%- Only 26.4% of children worldwide receive social protection cash benefits. 

0.4%- Globally, only 1.1% of GDP is spent on social protection for children, and only 0.4% of GDP for children in Africa.

Prevalence of child labor

Since 2000, for nearly two decades, the world has been making steady progress in reducing child labor. But over the past few years, conflicts, crises, and the COVID-19 pandemic have plunged more families into poverty – and forced millions more children into child labor. Economic growth has not been sufficient, nor inclusive enough, to relieve the pressure that too many families and communities feel and that makes them resort to child labor. Today, 160 million children are still engaged in child labor. That is almost one in ten children worldwide.

Africa ranks highest among regions both in the percentage of children in child labor — one-fifth — and the absolute number of children in child labor — 72 million. Asia and the Pacific rank second highest in both these measures — 7% of all children and 62 million in absolute terms are in child labor in this region.

Africa, Asia, and the Pacific regions together account for almost nine out of every ten children in child labor worldwide. The remaining child labor population is divided among the Americas (11 million), Europe and Central Asia (6 million), and the Arab States (1 million). In terms of incidence, 5% of children are in child labor in the Americas, 4% in Europe and Central Asia, and 3% in the Arab States.

While the percentage of children in child labor is highest in low-income countries, their numbers are actually greater in middle-income countries. 9% of all children in lower-middle-income countries, and 7% of all children in upper-middle-income countries, are in child labor. Statistics on the absolute number of children in child labor in each national income grouping indicate that 84 million children in child labor, accounting for 56% of all those in child labor, actually live in middle-income countries, and an additional 2 million live in high-income countries.

2024 Theme: Let’s act on our commitments: End Child Labour!

This year’s World Day will focus on celebrating the 25th anniversary of adopting the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (1999, No. 182). It also presents an opportunity to remind all stakeholders to improve their implementation of the two fundamental Conventions on child labor – Convention No. 182 and Convention No. 138 concerning the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment or Work (1973).

Although significant strides have been taken in reducing child labor over time, recent years have seen global trends reverse, underscoring the pressing need to unite efforts in expediting actions to eradicate child labor in all its manifestations.

With the adoption of Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7, the international community committed to eliminating child labor in all its forms by 2025. 

Now is the time to make the elimination of child labor a reality!

This World Day Against Child Labour, June 12, 2024, we are calling for:

  • The effective implementation of the ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour;
  • Reinvigorated national, regional, and international action to end child labor in all of its forms, including worst forms, through adopting national policies and addressing root causes as called upon in the 2022 Durban Call to Action;
  • Universal ratification and effective implementation of ILO Convention  No. 138 on the Minimum Age, which, together with the universal ratification of ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour achieved in 2020, would provide all children with legal protection against all forms of child labor.