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ILO: global meltdown may aggravate child labour

Aarti Dhar

NEW DELHI: The global financial crisis could push an increasing number of children, particularly girls, into child labour, according to a new report issued by the International Labour Office. It has been released to mark the World Day Against Child Labour on June 12.

The report, “Give Girls a Chance: Tackling Child Labour – a key to the future,” notes that while recent global estimates indicate that the number of children involved in child labour has been falling, the financial crisis threatens to erode this progress.

Family preference

The danger of girls being forced into child labour is linked to families in many countries giving preference to boys when making decisions on children’s education. Because of the increase in poverty, as a result of the crisis, poor families with a number of children may have to choose which children stay home on being taken out of school.

They are then likely to enter the workforce at an early age, says the report.

Other factors include cuts in national education budgets, and a decline in migrant labourers’ remittances, which often helped to keep children in school.

The most recent global estimate has indicated that more than 100 million girls are involved in child labour, and many are exposed to some of its worst forms, says the report.

Girls face a number of problems. Much of the work they undertake is hidden from public view and so they are exposed to danger. Girls make up the overwhelming number of children engaged in domestic work in third-party households. There are regular reports of abuse of domestic workers.

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