Having survived child labor from India, Rajesh Jadov says he was deprived of education because he had to start working at a young age.

Yata worked with the whole family at a brick factory. Studies by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and UNICEF estimate that 106 million children in child labor do not receive an education.

The Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labor is also considering how to remove barriers for children attending school. The conference is currently being held at the Alberto Lutuli International Incosi Conference Center in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Yatov says he desperately wanted to attend school like other children.

“I used to work with my whole family at a brick factory. I used to make bricks. So sometimes I saw some kids go to school, I saw them go to school with bags. My financial situation was bad, so I could not be sent to school. But I always thought I had to go to school. “

Exposure to COVID-19 can force millions of children to work

A report by the ILO and UNICEF says millions of people are at risk of child labor due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell says children who dropped out of school during the pandemic need to be reintegrated into the education system.

“For some families facing economic crisis and instability, child labor is a coping mechanism. These families need direct support to help overcome thunderstorms without letting their children work. We must also keep all children in the school where they belong, and reintegrate children and adolescents who have had to drop out of school. We should never take child labor as an inevitability. We have the strength to change that. ”

Increasing social protection

Conference delegates say the cessation of child labor will require enhanced social protection and control of supply chains through a multi-stakeholder approach.

The conference seeks to understand why millions of children fall victim to labor exploitation practices.

SABC News reporter Bongani Gema talks to Michael de Kok of the ILO:

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