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Decline in child labour worldwide, says ILO report

By Staff
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New Delhi, May 4 (UNI) The number of child workers in the world has fallen by 11.39 per cent from 246 million in 2000 to 218 million in 2004 and the decline is an impressive one-third for children in hazardous work in the 5-14 age group, says the latest global report of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on child labour.

The report titled 'The End of Child Labour:Within Reach', the second ILO global report on child labour in six years, does not have any data for India, which has the highest child labour force in the world, though the National Sample Survey 1999-2000 figures say child labour is on the rise in the country.

According to the ILO report released worldwide today, the number of child workers in the 5-14 age group dropped by 20 million, from 206 million to 186 million, and in the 15-17 age group by 7 million.

The substantial decline in children engaged in harmful work has raised cautious optimism that elimination of the worst forms of child labour by the target of 2016 is indeed possible.

There is a 26 per cent decline (44 million) in child labour in the 5-17 age group in hazardous work, from 170 million in 2000 to 126 million in 2004 against the 33 per cent drop in the 5-14 age group.

''The more harmful the work, the faster was the decline,'' says the 90-page report.

The fastest progress in reducing the number of working children has been recorded in Latin America and the Caribbean (11.7 million) while it has been marginal in Asia and the Pacific (5 million), says the report.

The progress has been the least in Africa, particularly the Sub-Saharan Africa, where only 1.3 million children were taken out of work during the last four years.

''Far more than a compilation of statistics, this report is a story of dignity and hope. It tells us that more girls and boys around the world are on the path from workrooms to classrooms: out of exploitation toward real opportunity,'' says ILO Director-General Juan Somavia.

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