March 12, 2018
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At least 94 million kids have stopped working since the year 2000. The International Labour Organization says that “we are moving in the right direction”, however there is still a lot to do. In 2016 there were still 152 million children aged 5-17 working, with 71% of them doing so in the agricultural sector. What conditions can determine the future panorama of child labour around the world?

Alberto Posso, Associate Professor of Economics at the International Trade and Development Research Group at RMIT Melbourne, turns his look towards the sky. Last Monday 12th March he presented his investigation Child Labour and Weather Shocks: Panel Data Evidence from Vietnam at the University of Navarra. “The study essentially looks at how climate change may increase child labour in the future”, said Posso.

Vietnam is amongst the five most vulnerable countries to climate change and at the same time one in ten vietnamese children are currently working. “We look at that how much rainfall is falling within one region and compare it to household choices, whether children are entering or exiting work”, explained Posso.

Results show that households that experience greater than expected rainfall are likely to send their children to work. These kids are more likely to work in the agricultural sector and household chores.

Moreover, the investigation also looks for massive shocks, “where rain is not just greater than average, but a lot greater”, he clarified. “We find that when rain is a lot greater than average children are less likely to work in agriculture and more in non-agricultural activities, such as handcrafting”.  

Posso recommends the vietnamese government to take small steps which could help prevent an increase in child labour. He resolved that the restricting labour movement laws should be changed, credits should be given to companies who are in need of hiring workers and insurance schemes should be coupled to areas vulnerable to climate change.