On World Day Against Child Labor, the head of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Afghanistan warned of an increase in the number of children who are engaged in work generally and with hazardous jobs particularly.
A gathering was held by the UN in Kabul to mark World Day Against Child Labor under the title of “Social Justice."
“More than 1.06 million children were engaged in labor in Afghanistan in 2020 and 2021. We counted those between 5 to 17 years old,” said Ramin Behzad, head of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Afghanistan.
The Ministry of Public Work (MoPW) said that more than one million children are engaged in hazardous work and nearly 2 million others are working on the street.
“19.5 million children exist in Afghanistan. 11.4 million of them are enrolled in school, but because of imposed wars and poverty and economic problems, 7.8 million of children are not in school. 1.2 are engaged in hazardous work and 1.9 million of them are doing normal work on the streets,” said Sharafuddin Sharaf, chief of the office of the MoPW.
The head of the national union of labor, Sharaf Hameedi, said that the children are facing hardships in the country, saying that some of them work for more than 15 hours.
“They should not work more than 35 hours in one week but the truth is that our children are working more than 15 hours in 24 hours,” he said.
Meanwhile, UNICEF Afghanistan tweeted that “in Afghanistan, 1 in 5 children is engaged in child labor.”
“No matter the cause, UNICEF aims to end child labor in all forms,” UNICEF said.
With the Islamic Emirate coming to power, the international aid to Afghanistan was reduced and the country’s $9.5 billions assets abroad were frozen, which contributed to the severe economic and humanitarian crisis.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Twitter that 160 million children worldwide are victims of “child labor today.”
“That's almost 1 in 10 children,” he said.