The last two decades have seen significant strides in the fight against child labour. But the COVID-19 pandemic poses very real risks of backtracking. Positive trends may falter, and child labour may worsen, especially in places where it has remained resistant to change. These risks require urgent action to prevent and mitigate the tolls the pandemic takes on children and their families. The full impacts and length of the crisis, and how different people will fare, remain uncertain. But some of the fallout is already obvious. (...)
By reviewing the literature about previous crises and their impact on child labour, this report discusses some of the main channels of influence. Most of these channels are connected, but are presented separately to clarify the issues in each. The discussion is not conclusive. The longterm impacts of the pandemic and the implications for child labour as yet remain unknown. But based on literature and mounting anecdotal evidence, some broad directions are emerging. The report builds on these to conclude with recommended actions that governments can take even at this early stage.