World Conference to combat the rise of

In South Africa, a world conference on the elimination of child labor opens in Durban on Sunday 15 May. More than 4,000 delegates – representatives of governments, trade unions, private and civil society and young people from all over the world – will be present. Progress has been made but worldwide the numbers are on the rise and the covid-19 pandemic has something to do with it.

The conference comes at a critical time. One in ten children is still forced to work in the world. More and more young children aged 5 to 11 who are forced to work now account for just over half of the total global figure.

The Covid-19 pandemic has impoverished the population and the consequences were immediately visible to the youngest. In sub-Saharan Africa, population growth combined with this extreme poverty has had catastrophic effects. An estimated 16.5 million additional children have been forced into child labor over the past four years.

However, progress is being made in some regions. In Zimbabwe, the government recently made a commitment to combat child labor in the tobacco industry. The law sets the employment age at 16, but does not prohibit younger people from handling tobacco, a subtlety that always benefits farmers.

Read also: Child labor is increasing for the first time in Africa in 20 years

In recent weeks, the Ivorian government has also signed a partnership to ensure better care for child labor in the cocoa sector.

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