The International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF recently released a new alarming report stating the number of children in child labour has risen to 160 million – almost 1 in 10 of all children* worldwide. The report’s analysis also suggests that without swift mitigation measures, rising poverty driven by the COVID-19 pandemic will threaten to push almost 9 million more children into child labour. Given the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 8.7 which states the commitment to end child labour by 2025, these new findings stress the urgency to act immediately.
This report expresses the seriousness and global reality of child labour, and it also highlights the need for International Justice Mission’s (IJM) work to double down on protecting vulnerable children from its worst forms: slavery, trafficking, exploitation and forced labour. This is part of the core of IJM’s work around the world.
Through IJM's work on the frontlines, our teams see time and time again that real progress in protecting children from slavery comes from translating the intentions of national laws into action and protection on the ground. Our work in equipping legal systems, partnering with police and empowering survivors has meant real and measurable systemic change.
"This number is staggering – more than 4 times the population of the entire country of Canada. The urgency and time to act is now, and as a global community we cannot accept this reality on behalf of these vulnerable children,” said Anu George Canjanathoppil, CEO of IJM Canada. “IJM knows that real, sustainable change is possible but it takes substantial commitment, perseverance and investment. The Race to Rescue is a tangible way for everyday people to respond in a meaningful way."
* International Labour Office and United Nations Children’s Fund, Child Labour: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward, ILO and UNICEF, New York, 2021. License: CC BY 4.0