More children are at risk to child labor as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, which could lead to the first rise in child labor after 20 years of progress, according to a new brief from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and United Nations International Children’s Fund.
In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor. The resolution enjoins all UN member countries and stakeholders to observe the declaration by taking immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025, end child labor in all its forms.
The resolution recognizes the importance of revitalized global partnerships to ensure the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the implementation of the goals and targets related to the elimination of child labor.
Among relevant global partnerships is Alliance 8.7, where the ILO serves as the secretariat.
Alliance 8.7 is a partnership for eradicating forced labor, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labor around the world.
ILO estimates show there are 152 million children between the ages of five and 17 were in child labor, almost half them, 73 million, in hazardous child labor.
In the Philippines, basing on the final results of the 2011 Survey of Children (SOC), the estimated number of children aged five to 17 years who worked for at least one hour during the conduct of the SOC was 3.3 million. They accounted for 12.4 percent of the estimated 26.6 million children five to 17 years old in the country.
Of the 17 administrative regions, 14 regions had at least one working children in every 10 children.
Northern Mindanao had the highest proportion at 22.1 percent while the National Capital Region had the lowest at 5.4 percent. Working boys (62.9 percent) outnumbered working girls (37.1 percent).
As to age group, 53.2 percent of the working children were 15 to 17 years old, 38 percent were 10 to 14 years old and 8.8 percent were five to nine years old.
The number of working children considered as engaged in child labor as defined in Republic Act 9231 or the Anti-Child Labor Act, was 2,097 million or 63.3 percent of the 3.3 million children five to 17 years old who worked during the SOC. More than half of these children in child labor (58.3 percent) belonged to age group 15 to 17 years who were part of the labor force population. Also, more than half of the working children engaged in child labor (58.4 percent) were in the agriculture sector.
Those in hazardous child labor were estimated at 2.0 million or 61.9 percent of the total number of working children.Those in other child labor (49,000), or children in the age group of five to 14 years who work in excess of the allowable work hours comprised 1.5 percent of the working children five to 17 years old.
Across regions, central Luzon (10.5 percent) or 219,766 had the most number of child laborers, followed by Bicol region (10.3 percent) or 216,830. Large shares were also observed in northern Mindanao (8.5 percent) or 178,874; Calabarzon (8.3 percent) or 173,841; western Visayas (8.2 percent) or 171,744.
The western Visayas is where the highest proportion of female child laborers were reported – ranging from 8.6 percent to 10.2 percent of the total female children engaged in child labor.
The SOC data reports the Cordillera has the lowest at 2.0 percent or 41,940 child laborers out of the 2,097,000 nationwide.
Child labor includes hazardous work done for long hours by children ages 15 to 17 years; and those classified as other child labor, that is, work by children below 15 years of age in excess of the allowable work hours.
In celebration of 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor, the Department of Labor and Employment was tasked to take the lead in its implementation through activities aimed at raising awareness on the issue of child labor in the Philippines. You can join by registering @ https://2021internationalyearfortheeliminationofchildlabour.org/what-is-child-labour.
END/Patrick T Rillorta