COVID-19 and child labour

Indonesia strengthen its efforts to combat child labour as an impact of the pandemic

To commemorate the World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL), relevant national stakeholders examined ways to tackle the threat of COVID-19 to the increased child labour.

News | Jakarta, Indonesia | 16 June 2020
Children around the world, including in Indonesia, were a greater risk of being pushed into child labour as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To strengthen collaboration and coordination among relevant stakeholders, the ILO in collaboration with the Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas), Ministry of Manpower and JARAK, a network of NGOs dealing with child labour issue, organized a webinar on 12 June.

The webinar, “Challenges and Strategies to Collectively and Sustainably Combat Child Labour”, was conducted in conjunction with the commemoration of the World Day Against Child Labour which falls on 12 June. Attended by more than 400 participants across the nation, the webinar aimed at updating the latest child labour situation as the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 2008, we have withdrawn more than 130,000 children from child labour and we have targeted to withdrawn 9,000 children this year. Despite the current crisis, we need to focus on reaching the future without child labour in Indonesia by 2022 and need to strengthen the coordination and involvement of all relevant stakeholders."

Ida Fauziyah, Minister of Manpower
Ida Fauziyah, Minister of Manpower, called for concerted efforts from relevant stakeholders to combat child labour, particularly during the pandemic. With more than 3 million workers have lost their jobs, loss of incomes could make children vulnerable to child labour.

“Since 2008, we have withdrawn more than 130,000 children from child labour and we have targeted to withdrawn 9,000 children this year. Despite the current crisis, we need to focus on reaching the future without child labour in Indonesia by 2022 and need to strengthen the coordination and involvement of all relevant stakeholders,” she stated.

Meanwhile Michiko Miyamoto, Country Director of the ILO for Indonesia and Timor-Leste, appraised the efforts taken by Indonesia. “The ILO and Indonesia have jointly collaborated in the elimination of child labour for more than 25 years. We have to further support the vulnerable groups of the society as they are the hardest hit by the crisis, including poor households and their children,” said Michiko.

National Webinar of the World Day Against Child Labour
The webinar also presented the latest results of child labour brief from the ILO and UNICEF titled “COVID-19 and child labour: A time of crisis, a time to act”. According to the brief, COVID-19 could result in a rise in poverty and therefore to an increase in child labour as households use every available means to survive. Some studies show that a one percentage point rise in poverty leads to at least a 0.7 per cent increase in child labour in certain countries.

The ILO and Indonesia have jointly collaborated in the elimination of child labour for more than 25 years. We have to further support the vulnerable groups of the society as they are the hardest hit by the crisis, including poor households and their children."

Michiko Miyamoto, Country Director of the ILO for Indonesia and Timor-Leste
The increase of poverty due to the pandemic had become the main discussion of webinar, presenting resource persons from the Ministry of Manpower, ILO Jakarta Office, SMERU Research Centre and the Institute for Societal and Development Studies (LPKP). The poverty was one of main contributing factors to the increase of child labour in the country.

“If the poverty projection increases to 12,4 percent in 2020 or equal with 33,4 million people, around 11 million children from poor households are vulnerable to become child labourers,” explained Widjajanti Isdijoso, Director for Research and Outreach of SMERU, adding that they were also vulnerable to be malnourished and dropping out from schools.

A number of measures were proposed to counter the threat of increased child labour. “Some of the proposed measures, among others, include more comprehensive social protection, easier access to credit for poor households and measures to get children back into school,” said Irham Saifuddin, the ILO’s programme officer, highlighted some recommended measures in the Brief.

In addition, Anwar Solihin, Director of LPKP, emphasized the importance of child labour elimination programme at the village levels, including the development of child labour free villages and strengthen the coordination among village authorities. “We need to continue raising the public awareness, especially at rural areas, about the elimination of child labour, children’s rights and the negative impacts of child labour to lives of children,” he said.


The webinar concluded with the commitment from the stakeholders involved to continue the efforts in combating child labour in Indonesia. Mahatmi P. Saronto, Director of Employment of Bappenas, said that the national stakeholders has developed a website as one of the efforts taken by Indonesia. The website provides a platform for relevant stakeholders to share best practices, strengthen partnerships and assemble relevant information, knowledge and experiences on child labour.

“We can continue improving and expanding this platform in the future and we hope that through this platform, we can strengthen our efforts to reach a future without child labour in the country,” she concluded.