June 12 marks the fight against child labour. The world's attention is drawn to the harmful, mental and physical problems of all forms of child labour and addresses ways to eradicate it. This year's theme is "Act now: End child labour". Amid existing economic and social challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic made it even more difficult to maintain progress achieved in declining child labour.
The global disruption to education was a contributing factor in reversing progress made against child labour, especially in developing economies. Due to the pandemic's circumstances, parents who were laid off had to subject their children to certain trades (harmful and not harmful) to provide for their households. According to the ILO, 152 million children between the ages of 5-17 are still victims of child labour, with 73 million in hazardous work.
With the distribution of the COVID vaccines, there is renewed hope in strategising to eradicate poverty and inequalities, especially among children. As businesses, we play an imperative role in eliminating child labour by keeping child labour our of our supply chains.
Also, as consumers, we should all ensure that the goods we consume are not at the expense of anyone's childhood, irrespective of the difficult conditions they live in.
Together, we can combat child labour and achieve Target 8.7 of the SDG goals, ending child labour in all its forms by 2025.