Around 160 million children are engaged globally in various forms of labour; 79 million in hazardous work. Without mitigation measures, the overall number will increase further, to 168.9 million by the end of 2022. New challenges – such as COVID-19 and the growing climate crisis – and their economic impact risk slowing down or even reversing the progress being made in the Asia Pacific region. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) have been playing a significant role by working directly with children engaged in labour, particularly in rescue, rehabilitation, empowerment, and advocacy programmes.
The South Asia Coordinating Group on Accelerating Action to end Violence against Children (SACG), initiated in 2004, is a consortium of United Nations agencies, NGOs, and CSOs working at the regional level on issues of child rights and protection in South Asia. In parallel with other regions’ consultation processes, SACG organised a regional consultation to summarise the comprehensive inputs and recommendations from a wide range of NGOs and CSOs working in this area, in order to shape the agenda for the 5th Global Conference on Child Labour (VGC) in May 2022.
This consultation also benefitted from the insights of youth who are either survivors of child labour or currently engaged in child labour.