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Decent Work

While there are 215 millon child labourers globally, nearly 207 million unemployed people of whom about 75 million youth between 15 and 24 years of age do not have jobs.

The world is facing a worsening youth employment crisis: young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and over 75 million youth worldwide are looking for work. The ILO has warned of a “scarred” generation of young workers facing a dangerous mix of high unemployment, increased inactivity and precarious work in developed countries, as well as persistently high working poverty in the developing world.

In many countries, this grim unemployment picture is further aggravated by the large number of youth engaged in poor quality and low paid jobs, often in the informal economy. Many youth are poor or underemployed: some 152 million working poor youth, or 28 per cent of all young workers in the world, live on less than the equivalent of US$1.25 per day.

There is a cruel irony in the co-existence of child labour and youth unemployment: demand for certain types of labour that is met by children who should not be working, there is also a supply of labour from young people that goes unutilised. There is, thus, an urgent need to remove hazards from the working environment or to faciliate the transition of adolescents from prohibited forms of work to decent work to achieve the parallel goals as they help transform hazardous child labour into decent work for youth. Transforming hazardous child labour into decent work for youth promotes social justice and the realisation of human rights.