October 29, 2012 - 14:01 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The United Nations is to announce ambitious plans to eliminate child labor by 2020 after research revealed high growth in developing nations will not substantially reduce the number of children working worldwide, The Guardian reports.
Warning that "current trends are … of great concern" the UN says there will still be about 190 million child laborers in eight years' time – a drop of just 25 million on today's figures. Even worse is that in the poorest parts of the world, the UN says, the numbers will rise: child laborers in sub-Saharan Africa will jump by around 15 million over the next decade, reaching 65 million by 2020.
A UN report – to be launched on Monday morning by the UN's special envoy on education, the former Labor prime minister Gordon Brown – warns that unless the issue is tackled, the internationally agreed millennium development goal that all children should complete primary school by 2015 will not be achieved. Child labor, the UN says, "exacerbates the risk of being out of school. In India, non-attendance rates for child laborers are twice the level for children not involved in child labor."
The research says the "sheer scale of child labor is not widely recognized". About 60 million under-17-year-olds are involved in global agriculture. Mining, it says, is a "magnet" for child labor, with children as young as six digging shafts and scuttling around mounds of rock with little more than a hammer and chisel. Around half of the workforce in Afghanistan's brick kilns is aged under 14. In Ethiopia almost 60% of children work.
Multinational companies also come under fire. The report points out that in China, underage labor recruited by networks of agents from poor rural areas "has been found in factories supplying companies such as Apple, Samsung and Google".
The UN says that the first step would be to make education compulsory for all children – and perhaps go as far as paying families to send their children to school, an approach that has worked in Brazil. This would mean that by 2015 an extra $13bn in funding would be needed.