With millions of workers displaced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, an official of the Department of Labor and Employment has expressed concern that the health crisis might force more children to work.
“Here comes COVID-19 and we are worried because it is possible that child labor is a negative coping mechanism to the pandemic,” DOLE Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) Director Ma. Karen Trayvilla said in an online forum Monday.
“More children may be forced to work,” she added.
According to Trayvilla, their child labor prevention program still continues as well as the profiling of child laborers.
“We are trying to locate where they are,” she said.
“Unfortunately this year, the profiling had to be stalled because of the quarantine rules,” Trayvilla added. But, she said, their referral system continues.
“We continue to refer them to government agencies that can provide the services they need such as education, health,” said Trayvilla.
DOLE has so far profiled 275,000 children engaged in child labor.
The labor department is targeting to reduce the cases of child labor by 30 percent or 630,000 by 2022 from the estimated 2.1 million child laborers nationwide in 2017.