The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has called on Nigeria and other nations to intensify their efforts in the fight against child labor, emphasizing the importance of supporting greater social justice.
Gilbert Houngbo, Director-General of the ILO, delivered the message during the 111th session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
Mr. Houngbo expressed concern over the recent rise in child labor, with approximately 160 million children worldwide, almost one in ten, engaged in various forms of child labor. Alarmingly, 80 million of these children are involved in hazardous work that poses a genuine threat to their physical and mental well-being.
He highlighted that child labor is often a result of a lack of social justice rather than neglectful parents, emphasizing the importance of addressing the root causes. Mr. Houngbo emphasized that the key to combating poverty-driven child labor lies in providing decent work opportunities for adults, enabling them to support their families and send their children to school, rather than into the workforce.
Decent work, according to Mr. Houngbo, entails eradicating forced labor, establishing safe and healthy workplaces, promoting workers’ rights to organize and voice their needs, and eliminating discrimination, as marginalized groups are disproportionately affected by child labor.
Furthermore, Mr. Houngbo emphasized the necessity of integrating the social agenda into major international, regional, and national policies and actions, in order to combat the widening economic disparities that contribute to the proliferation of child labor.