On the occasion of the World Day against Child Labour, Terre des Hommes issues a warning that the Corona pandemic will lead to a dramatic increase in child labour. For millions of children, the pandemic means hunger, exploitation and the end of educational opportunities.
Even before the Corona pandemic:
Although there is still no global overview of the number of children who have to work during and after the lockdowns, the United Nations estimates that an additional 66 million children are at risk of extreme poverty as a result of the Corona pandemic.
Terre des Hommes warns that the economic crisis resulting from the Corona pandemic will force several million children worldwide into exploitative working conditions.
Children who are already disadvantaged are particularly at risk: poor and neglected children, street children, girls, refugee children and children of migrants, children in crisis regions and children without parental care.
Terre des Hommes partner organisations are reporting a visible increase in child labour in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In large cities there are more children who are begging. On plantations and farms, schoolage children work with their parents and sell vegetables or fruit in the streets. In the Philippines, the demand for children are forced into sexual exploitation online is increasing. Europol reports that overall the demand for child sexual abuse material on the internet has increased since the beginning of the lockdowns.
In India, the country with the highest number of child workers (in absolute figures), the situation is precarious. Families are being pushed into further poverty by the lockdown and children are bearing the brunt - for example, families, especially from discriminated groups, are having to turn to unscrupulous money lenders where, often, the child of the family has to work to pay off the debts.
According to UNESCO, 1.5 billion students in 188 countries were unable to attend school during lockdowns in May. The school closures acutely contribute to malnutrition and hunger as many children are losing the most important and often only daily meal. According to the World Food Programme, at least 365 million children are currently affected.
Terre des Hommes demands that national governments, the European Union and the international community give priority to the needs of children in their Corona aid programmes.