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With Child Labor Rates Cut By Almost Half, Millions More Kids Get a Childhood

Yet another positive trend has emerged from around the world: since child labor rates have plummeted by almost half since the turn of the millennium, more and more kids are getting an education and enjoying their childhood instead.

According to new data from the International Labor Organization, child slavery has dropped from 250 million in 2000 to 152 million in 2016 – roughly a 40% decline. The number of children working in hazardous sections dropped by half, and rates also declined seen across all child labor sectors, including agriculture, industry, factory, and trafficking.

Additionally, children who are freed from modern slavery are more likely to get an education and enjoy their childhoods.

The report was created in collaboration with Alliance 8.7, a global partnership dedicated to taking “immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”.

The U.S. Department of Labor stated that out of 135 countries that were surveyed on their child labor rates, 61% showed “moderate” to “significant” advancement. The regions that showed the most improvement was Northern Africa with 75% showing improvement, and Brazil, which showed 69% improvement.

The organization says that the decline in child slavery and trafficking is largely credited to countries adopting firmer legislation against child labor, providing adequate funding for enforcement, and encouraging more efficient labor inspections.

While certain events – such as the Syrian War – have slowed the crackdown on child labor in more recent years, the shift in global attitude and enthusiasm is cause for optimism.

“The dynamic picture indicates that we are moving in the right direction. Child labor declined during the period from 2012 to 2016, continuing a trend seen since the publication of the ILO’s first global estimates of child labor in 2000,” says the organization.

“Real advances have been made in the fight against child labor, providing an important foundation for efforts moving forward.”

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