The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has called for increased investment in social protection systems and schemes to establish solid social protection floors to protect children from child labour.
The ILO Director-General made the call on Saturday to mark the 2022 World Day Against Child Labour at the ongoing 110th Session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
This year’s theme is titled: “Universal Social Protection to End Child Labour” and the day will be marked on June 12.
Ryder said that the fight against child labour was truly at the crossroads, in spite of significant effort made to reduce it.
According Ryder, the choices made by governments now will make or break the lives of millions of children.
“Social protection is one of the most powerful measures to prevent child labour and providing families with income security in difficult times.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put millions at risk due to rising poverty, inequality and school closures.
“But without decisive countermeasures taken by governments, the number of children in child labour could rise by almost nine million to 169 million this year.
“Social protection is one of the most powerful measures to prevent child labour providing families with income security in difficult times,” he said.
The ILO boss said that ensuring universal access to social protection was an integral part of the“Durban Call to Action”, adopted during the conference.
He said the call was essential to help construct a path towards a world free of child labour and the attainment of universal social protection as reflected in SDG Target 1.3.
According to Ryder, that universe social protection is particularly powerful when coverage stretches across the life cycle, from child maternity and family benefits to unemployment support, old age pensions and healthcare.
“Structure like this can help families cope with economic or health shocks without having to put their children into child labour.
“What policymakers need to do is to create social protection systems that reach all children, and in particular, those more vulnerable to child labour,” he said.
He said that these systems needed to be put in place alongside to ensure decent work for adults and quality education for all children.
“Yes, this will require investment, but countries will reap the benefits of a fully educated and skilled workforce.
“The choices that governments make now will make or break the lives of millions of children today and in the future,’’ Ryder said.