Social Security helps reduce child labor (ILO / UNICEF)

The Role of Social Security in Eliminating Child Labor: Evidence and Policy Impact Review, Presents the results of several studies conducted since 2010 that show how social protection – by helping families cope with economic or health shocks – reduces child labor and facilitates schooling.

However, little progress has been made in ensuring that all children enjoy social security, the study said. Thus, globally, 73.6%, or about 1.5 billion children between the ages of 0 and 14, do not receive any family benefits or cash allowances. The report indicates that this important security gap needs to be filled as soon as possible.

“There are many reasons to invest in universal social security, but the elimination of child labor must be the most pressing in terms of its detrimental effect on children’s rights and well-being,” said Guy Ryder, director general of the ILO.

The government has various policies that they can set up to promote social security. If policymakers do not act decisively, the Covid-19 epidemic, ongoing conflict, growing poverty and climate change will only increase the incidence of child labor, the study said.

More than 160 million children worldwide, or 1 in 10 children between the ages of 5 and 17, are still employed in child labor, and progress has stalled since 2016. These trends predate the Covid-19 crisis. It is estimated that without the mitigation strategy, the number of child laborers could increase to 8.9 million by the end of 2022, due to increasing poverty and vulnerability.

Investment in universal social security

To strengthen the social security system to prevent and eliminate child labor, the report makes several recommendations:

  • Closing the Social Security coverage gap for children.

This requires prioritizing child benefits, as well as expanding the social security of two billion workers in the informal economy, thereby supporting their transition from the informal to the formal economy.

There are many reasons to invest in universal social security, but the most compelling is to eliminate child labor, says Guy Ryder, ILO Director General

  • Build an integrated social security system.

Child labor can be reduced if countries have a social protection system that provides adequate benefits for child and family benefits from retirement pensions and maternity benefits and unemployment as well as health care.

  • Ensure that the design of social protection programs is inclusive and takes into account child labor in order to optimize child labor reduction programs.

This means, among other things, establishing family allowances for all families, including children, especially those who find themselves in a more vulnerable situation; Facilitate the registration process to facilitate access to social security for those who care for children; And increasing investment in universal, quality basic education and other vital social services for children.

  • Build the already strong political commitment to establish universal social security to end child labor and build consensus for action.

The Sustainable Development Agenda, the strong consensus reached by the International Labor Conference in 2021, as well as the results of the Durban Conference on Child Labor could help coordinate international initiatives.

  • Promote investment in social security systems as a driver of development.

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