satyarthi11_Daniel BerehulakGetty Images_childlabor Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

The Appalling Increase in Child Labor

There can be no excuse for the fact that child labor has increased for the first time in two decades. World leaders must give the poorest and most marginalized children their fair share of global wealth by channeling it through development assistance that bolsters social protection and supports targeted policies.

NEW DELHI – For the first time in two decades, the number of child workers has increased. The shocking rise – from 152 million to 160 million worldwide, according to recent United Nations data – occurred in the four years that preceded the COVID-19 pandemic.

There can be absolutely no excuse for this. The world took its eyes off the target – namely, the promise we made to end child labor by 2025. Today, we have made a mockery of that promise. What is even more outrageous is that the increase in child labor occurred during a period when global wealth rose by $10 trillion.

The pandemic has revealed how fundamentally unequal our world has become. According to Forbes, a new billionaire has been created every 17 hours  during the pandemic. Meanwhile, an estimated 200 million adults globally will have lost their jobs by the end of 2022, and the International Labour Organization warns that the COVID-19 crisis could push 8.9 million more children into child labor by then. And, given current trends, this number will only increase.

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