Amid growing concerns over the impact of the economic downturn, the International Labour Office (ILO) has warned that efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour are slowing down and called for a “re-energized” global campaign to end the practice.
In its Global Report on child labour, the ILO has said that the global number of child labourers had declined from 222 million to 215 million, or 3 per cent, over the period 2004 to 2008, representing a “slowing down of the global pace of reduction.” The report also expressed concern that the global economic crisis could “further brake” progress toward the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016.
The new ILO global report, entitled Accelerating action against child labour, presents detailed estimates. Progress was greatest among children aged 5-14, where the number of child labourers fell by 10 per cent. Child labour among girls decreased by 15 per cent. However, it increased among boys (by 8 million or 7 per cent). What’s more, child labour among young people aged 15 to 17 increased by 20 per cent, from 52 million to 62 million.
Further to the discussion of the Global Report at the International Labour Conference in June, the Governing Body in November 2010 endorsed the Global Plan of Action for achieving the elimination of the worst forms of child labour by 2016 - the ambitious goal that was originally suggested by the 2006 Global Report on child labour. The 2010 Global Action Plan provides a strategic agenda and action plan for the ILO, and in particular IPEC, in the years ahead towards 2016. It specifically refers to and incorporates the Roadmap adopted by The Hague Global Child Labour Conference held in May 2010.