May 1, 2013

5.5 Million Child Laborers in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has about 5.5 million child laborers (from five to 17 years old) with nearly three million of them doing hazardous tasks, a 2011 survey on children release by the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed.

Globally, there are 215 million child laborers, with half of them doing hazardous work, according to the United Nations International Labor Organization (ILO).

Hazardous child labor is defined as being likely to harm children’s health, safety or morals by its nature or circumstances. Children may be directly exposed to obvious work hazards such as sharp tools or poisonous chemicals.

Other hazards for child laborers may be less apparent, such as the risk of abuse or problems resulting from long hours of work. Hazardous work is considered as one of the worst forms of child labor.

According to the ILO World Report on Child Labor, the number of child laborers worldwide already fell by some 30 million.

The root of child labor is directly linked to poverty and lack of decent and productive work.

The ILO report estimates that more than five billion people, or around 75 percent of the global population, do not have effective access to comprehensive social protection.

“The figures largely contribute to the vast numbers of child laborers around the world, including the 115 million involved in the worst forms of child labor, such as debt bondage and prostitution, and 15.5 million involved in domestic work,” it said.

Meanwhile, the ILO study noted that cash transfer schemes are influencing the number of child labor or poverty incidences.

The extensive evidence of cash transfer schemes indicates that they lower child labor but that the magnitude of their impact varies substantially from on program and location to the next.

“In no instances, however, are they successful in eliminating child labor altogether, underscoring that cash transfers alone are not a complete policy response to child labor,” the study said.

Cash transfer schemes coupled with supply-side interventions, such as provision of health and education facilities and/or after-school education, seem to be have greater impact, it noted.


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