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ARGENTINA | 29-05-2021 11:07

Child labour has soared during pandemic, says new poll

Child labour in Argentina now reaches a 10th of all children in the 5-15 years age group and 30 percent of adolescents aged between 16 and 17.

The consequences of the pandemic crisis for job markets is also affecting child labour, which in Argentina now reaches a tenth of all children in the 5-15 years age-group and 30 percent of adolescents aged between 16 and 17.

The shocking figures come from the most recent Encuesta de Actividades de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes survey (Eanna 2016/17). Now a new study by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Unicef and the Labour Ministry points out that 16 percent in the 13 to 17 years age-group work for the market. Of that total, half began to do so during last year’s quarantine.

“Not only did half of the child labour commence their market-oriented activities during quarantine but those already working before the pandemic found themselves doing so with greater intensity in the current context,” says Bárbara Perrot, who coordinates the ILO’s MAP16 project in Argentina.

According to the same study, a tenth of all adolescents sought work during the pandemic, independent of whether they were already active or not.

“This indicates that had they found a job, the number of adolescents working for the market would be even greater than the 16 percent surveyed,” explained the ILO project coordinator. For the national coordinator of the Offside project of ILO Argentina, María Eugenia Figueroa, these new data “place in evidence that the preexistent processes of inequality have deepened, sounding an alert for the possible future effects on this population.”

According to the Permanent Household Survey, between the last quarters of 2019 and 2020, the workforce fell from 47.2 to 45 percent of the population. Women, youth and the informally employed were particularly affected by that contraction.

On the other hand, the study points out that 63 percent of the children and adolescents not engaged in any productive activity reside in homes whose members have not had any problems on the job market. Domestic tasks have increased, a burden falling especially on women with  57 percent of the adult women consulted feeling more overworked since the start of the pandemic with child care in first place.

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Clara Fernández Escudero

Clara Fernández Escudero

Editora de Sociedad y Ciudad de Diario Perfil. En Twitter: @clarafescudero

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