ILO, UNICEF warn Covid-19 crisis may threaten Nepal’s progress in eradicating child labor

Photo: UNICEF Nepal

NL Today

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Kathmandu: The International Labor Organization (ILO) and UNICEF have warned that Covid-19 is impacting the progress made by Nepal in eradicating child labor.

The ‘Nepal Child Labor Report 2021’, shows a declining trend of overall child labor in Nepal, reaching 1.1 million in 2018 from 1.6 million in 2008. “This important progress made is now challenged by the socioeconomic realities of the Covid-19 pandemic,” ILO and UNICEF said in a joint press release on Friday.

UNICEF Representative in Nepal Elke Wisch said that the severe socio-economic impact of the pandemic has hit families with children particularly hard.

“Increased economic hardship combined with school closures caused by Covid-19 place children already in child labor at increased risk of working longer hours or under worsening conditions, while many more may be forced into the worst forms of child labor due to job and income losses among vulnerable families,” said Wisch.

A new report by ILO and UNICEF states that the number of children in child labor has risen to 160 million worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years.

‘Child Labor: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward’ released ahead of World Day Against Child Labor warns that progress to end child labor has stalled for the first time in 20 years.

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