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New ILO Report Estimates that Almost 1 in 10 Children Worldwide Is in Child Labor

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF recently released a new alarming report stating the number of children in child labor has risen to 160 million – almost 1 in 10 of all children* worldwide.

The report’s analysis also suggests that without swift mitigation measures, rising poverty driven by the COVID-19 pandemic will threaten to push almost 9 million more children into child labor. Given the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 8.7 which states the commitment to end child labor by 2025, these new findings stress the urgency to act immediately.

This report expresses the seriousness and global reality of child labor, and it also highlights the need for International Justice Mission’s (IJM) work to double down on protecting vulnerable children from its worst forms: slavery, trafficking, exploitation and forced labor. This is part of the core of IJM’s work around the world.

Through IJM's work on the frontlines, our teams see time and time again that real progress in protecting children from slavery comes from translating the intentions of national laws into action and protection on the ground. Our work in equipping legal systems, partnering with police and empowering survivors has meant real and measurable systemic change.

“Seeing an increase in this number for the first time in two decades is very significant and the international community should quickly rally together,” said Nate King, National Director, US Advocacy & Mobilization. “This news is timely for the hundreds of IJM supporters who are already mobilizing around the U.S. and Canada to fundraise and raise awareness this month for the issue of child slavery. The Race to Rescue is a tangible way for everyday people to respond to these staggering new numbers.”


* International Labour Office and United Nations Children’s Fund, Child Labour: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward, ILO and UNICEF, New York, 2021. License: CC BY 4.0

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