The International Cocoa Initiative’s board advisor, the International Labour Organization, has published new global estimates of the extent of child labour for the period 2012-2016.
According to the report Global Estimates of Child Labour: Results and trends, 2012-2016, there are 151.6 million children involved in child labour. This represents a drop of 94 million since 2000 and a drop of 16 million since the ILO’s latest 2012 estimates.
Nearly half of the children involved in child labour do hazardous work (72.5 million) and almost a third are completely outside the education system. The study also found that 71 per cent of children work in agriculture and 69 per cent within their family unit.
One in five children in Africa is involved in child labour, making it the region at greatest risk.
The authors of the report believe that “a breakthrough in Africa will be critical to ending child labour worldwide.” Although child labour globally has declined, in sub-Saharan Africa it has slightly increased (from 21.4 per cent in 2012 to 22.4 per cent in 2016).
From the 151.5 million of children aged between 5 and 17 who were in child labour globally in 2016, 64 million are girls and 88 million boys.
The highest absolute number of children in child labour was in Africa (72.1 million), followed by Asia and the Pacific (62 million), the Americas (10.7 million), Europe and Central Asia (5.5 million) and the Arab States (1.2 million).
According to ILO, the new estimates “show that we are moving in the right direction” but they also warn that action needs to be scaled up and accelerated in order to meet the 2025 goal of eradicating child labour. The ‘business-as-usual’ scenario, based on the progress achieved between 2012 and 2016, will leave 121 million children still in child labour 8 years from now.