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Pandemic increases risk of child labour

June 12, 2021 3:27 pm

Millions of children globally are at risk of being pushed into child labour as a result of COVID-19 including Fiji.

The International Labour Organisation and UNICEF warns that child labour has risen to 160 million worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million in the last four years.

UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett says the pandemic has affected thousands of Fijian workers and their families.

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This he says could have an impact on children prompting them to engage in the workforce at an early age.

“There are greater risks in Fiji just as there are risks throughout the world. Because it does put additional stress on families and communities. Many parents have lost their jobs, kids are not at school right now. So we must work together and strengthen our protection system”.

Today marks World Day Against Child Labour and ILO Senior Programme Assistant Victoria Lee says their latest report with UNICEF is a wakeup call.

“Working children are at risk of mental harm and child labour compromises children’s education, restrict their rights, limits their future opportunities and leads to vicious intergeneration cycle of poverty and child labour”.

Yee adds the focus now is to keep children engaged in school or learning activities.

The ILO and UNICEF  report warns that globally, nine million additional children are at risk of being pushed into child labour by the end of 2022 as a result of the pandemic.

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