Mumbai : Child Labour: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward –the latest report by ILO and UNICEF has brought to light alarming figures and said that for the first time in the last two decades the global progress to end child labour has been stalled leading to an increase of 8.4 million children in child labour in the last four years alone. Globally, the number of children in child labour has now gone up to 160 million.
In this backdrop particularly when COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore daunting challenges like never before, there is an urgent need to re-introspect the strategies for prevention and protection of children from the exploitation of all forms to ensure their holistic rehabilitation through access to education, health, statutory compensation and socio-economic welfare schemes.
Commemorating World Day Against Child Labour, Bachpan Bachao Andolan in association with Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation organized a “Consultation on Elimination of Child Labour amid COVID-19 Pandemic” on Friday.
Giving a clarion call for ‘Team India Against Child Labour’ on the eve of World Day Against Child Labour, Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi urged all ministries, institutes, civil society etc to work together with a shared objective.
Delivering the keynote address, Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi said, “How can we leave our children behind and think of the country’s development? This would be against humanity. COVID-19 pandemic has made children more vulnerable and an alarming increase in child labour has been reported during the last 4 years as well even before the pandemic hit. We need to take new bold steps and add health as the fourth wheel of our work on child protection, which includes the right to education, poverty elimination and eradication of child labour. I urge the government to make Right To Health a Fundamental Right and make adequate budgetary allocations for health and education needs of children.”
Hon’ble Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Shri Santosh Gangwar addressed the inaugural session of “Consultation on the Elimination of Child Labour Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic” as the Chief Guest.
Supporting Shri Satyarthi’s call on bringing stakeholders together as “Team India Against Child Labour”, he said, “As the Labour Minister I am focussed on bringing justice and access to rights by all children. As COVID-19 is leading to rise in cases of child labour, we have to ensure child protection. It is one of our government’s top priorities to meet the goals and targets on ending child labour. Over the last few years, we have taken some important steps in this regard. We have to ponder over how we can provide access to education and health and care to children, who have been affected by COVID-19. I look up to the action points coming from Shri Satyarthi and his organisation and work towards including them in our future roadmap.”
Representatives of various government agencies, law enforcement bodies and civil society members participated in the deliberations and drew up an action plan mapping the road ahead to eliminate child labour.