Social protection crucial in tackling child labour: ILO

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Social protection policies can play a key role in the fight against child labour, which currently affects some 215 million children worldwide, according to a report by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

The World Report on Child Labour: Economic vulnerability, social protection and the fight against child labour, is a new ILO study which reviews relevant research on how different types of social protection measures can help combat child labour. These include cash transfer schemes, social health protection and income security in old age.

It cites as an example, Brazil's Bolsa Familia cash transfer programme which has played a key role in the reduction of child labour, both in rural and urban areas. That programme pays families a certain amount per month, provided their children go to school.

In Cambodia, child labour was down by ten per cent following the introduction of the Education Sector Support Project scholarship programme – which also involves cash transfers.

The report, the first in a series, also cites a study in Guatemala showing that children from households where at least one member is covered by health insurance are about 4.5 per cent less likely to work.

And, in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, for instance, 50-60 per cent of orphans live with their grandparents. In such households, the degree of income security in old age plays a significant role in limiting child labour.

The Director of the ILO's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour Constance Thomas says "the report "clearly shows that investing in social protection through nationally-defined social protection floors is a crucial part of the response in the fight against child labour, which also includes access to decent jobs for adults and education for children".

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’35″

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