Social protection a powerful measure to prevent child labor in Bangladesh: ILO

International Labor Organization Director General Guy Ryder said social protection is one of the most powerful measures to prevent child labor in Bangladesh by providing families with income security in times of hardship.

In his statement on the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labor 2022, the ILO Director-General also warns that the choices made by governments today will make or destroy the lives of millions of children.

According to the ILO, at the beginning of 2020, 1 in 10 children aged 5 and over were involved in child labor worldwide, which equates to approximately 160 million children, or 63 million girls and 97 million boys. .

Despite significant progress in reducing child labor over the past two decades, the most recent data shows that global progress on this measure has stalled since 2016.

Moreover, these trends were observed before the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, which put millions more children at risk of child labour.

It is estimated that without mitigation strategies, the number of children in child labor could increase by 8.9 million by the end of 2022, due to increased poverty and vulnerability.

The Child Labor Survey conducted by the Government of Bangladesh in collaboration with the ILO in 2013 revealed that 1.7 million children work as child laborers in Bangladesh.

A new investigation report is expected to be released in 2022.

The ILO has commended the Bangladesh government’s commitment to creating a child labor free society and commends the government for ratifying ILO Convention No. 138 on Minimum Age for Entry to Work in March 2022.

The ILO considers this an important step towards promoting decent work and social justice in Bangladesh.

The country signed ILO Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labor in 2001, which calls for the prohibition and elimination of all worst forms of child labor, including slavery , forced labour, trafficking and hazardous work, both in law and in practice.

As a result, the country prohibits hazardous work for children under the age of 18.

A recent ILO-UNICEF report published on the occasion of the Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labor in May 2022, emphasizes that strong social protection systems are necessary for the reduction and elimination of child labor by reducing the risk of poverty and vulnerability of families, supporting livelihoods and schooling, among others, government social protection systems are essential in the fight to eradicate and prevent child labor.

ILO Bangladesh Country Director Tuomo Poutiainen has encouraged the government to introduce a social protection program for these unfortunate children and their families to break the curse of child labor in the society.

He underlined the need to align the age of compulsory schooling with that of entry into the labor market, which is essential to eliminate child labor as well as to prepare our children to become a future workforce. productive work.

Joel C. Hicks