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Nearly 1 in 10 children are subjected to child labour worldwide, with some forced into hazardous work through trafficking.

A ten-year-old boy subjected to child labour in Bangladesh shows his hands, dirty from work, in 2018.

Economic hardship exacts a toll on millions of families worldwide – and in some places, it comes at the price of a child’s safety.

Roughly  160 million children were subjected to child labour at the beginning of 2020, with 9 million additional children at risk due to the impact of COVID-19. This accounts for nearly 1 in 10 children worldwide. Almost half of them are in hazardous work that directly endangers their health and development.

Children may be driven into work for various reasons. Most often, child labour occurs when families face financial challenges or uncertainty – whether due to poverty, sudden illness of a caregiver, or job loss of a primary wage earner.

The consequences are staggering. Child labour can result in extreme bodily and mental harm, and even death. It can lead to slavery and sexual or economic exploitation. And in nearly every case, it cuts children off from schooling and health care, restricting their fundamental rights.

Migrant and refugee children – many of whom have been uprooted by conflict, disaster or poverty – also risk being forced into work and even trafficked, especially if they are migrating alone or taking irregular routes with their families.

Trafficked children are often subjected to violence, abuse and other human rights violations. For girls, the threat of sexual exploitation looms large, while boys may be exploited by armed forces or groups .

Whatever the cause, child labour compounds social inequality and discrimination. Unlike activities that help children develop, such as contributing to light housework or taking on a job during school holidays, child labour limits access to education and harms a child’s physical, mental and social growth. Especially for girls, the “triple burden” of school, work and household chores heightens their risk of falling behind, making them even more vulnerable to poverty and exclusion.

Children learn in a centre in Jordan in 2019.

UNICEF works to prevent and respond to child labour, especially by strengthening the social service workforce . Social service workers play a key role in recognizing, preventing and managing risks that can lead to child labour. Our efforts develop and support the workforce to respond to potential situations of child labour through case management and social protection services, including early identification, registration and interim rehabilitation and referral services.

We also focus on strengthening parenting and community education initiatives to address harmful social norms that perpetuate child labour, while partnering with national and local governments to prevent violence, exploitation and abuse.

With the International Labour Organization (ILO), we help to collect data that make child labour visible to decision makers. These efforts complement our work to strengthen birth registration systems, ensuring that all children possess birth certificates that prove they are under the legal age to work.

Children removed from labour must also be safely returned to school or training. UNICEF supports increased access to quality education and provides comprehensive social services to keep children protected and with their families.

To address child trafficking, we work with United Nations partners and the European Union on initiatives that reach 13 countries across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

Learn more about child labour

Twelve-year-old boy in the capital Dhaka sorts through hazardous plastic waste without any protection, exposing himself to infections and diseases like COVID-19.

COVID-19 and child labour

A time of crisis, a time to act

Four boys in Moussadougou village, in the Southwest of Côte d'Ivoire

Child labour and responsible business conduct

Guidance to businesses, policy makers and other stakeholders to advance progress towards SDG Target 8.7 on eradicating child labour by 2025

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell's remarks at the World Day Against Child Labour High-Level Side Event

A child is caressed by his father as they walk to the Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre where he attends day care at the Sorwathe Tea Factory in Rwanda

Charting the course

Embedding children's rights in responsible business conduct

Related resources

Action against child labour | case studies, child labour: global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward, child labour: unicef data, inter-agency coordination group against trafficking in persons, unicef child protection advocacy brief: child labour, iom handbook for protection and assistance for migrants vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse, guidelines to strengthen the social service workforce for child protection.

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Child Labour: What you need to know

Sourcevie selling embers in a community market in the DRC.

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According to a report by International Labour Organization , 50 million people are in situations of modern slavery on any given day, either forced to work against their will or in a marriage that they were forced into. This number translates to nearly one of every 150 people in the world. 

There are 27.6 million people in situations of forced labour translating to 3.5 people for every thousand people in the world. Women and girls make up 11.8 million of this total. More than 3.3 million of all those in forced labour are children.

The ILO report also shows that millions more men, women, and children have been forced to work or marry in the period since the previous estimates were released in 2017.

Forced labour has grown in recent years, with an increase of 2.7 million people between 2016 and 2021. This translates to a rise in the prevalence of forced labour from 3.4 to 3.5 percent per thousand people in the world.

By definition, child labour is a violation of both child protection and child rights.

Poverty is the primary reason children are sent to work. But sadly, child labour keeps children from getting the education they need to break the cycle of poverty.

39% of the children - 1.31 million - are in forced labour exploitation jobs, 10% of the children -0.32 million- are working in state-imposed forced labour and 51% - 1.69 million - are working in commercial exploitation jobs.

Joytun was injured in a bakery fire at work. Now she's preparing to return to school.

Some work long hours in factories or in domestic service. Others are in forced labour, including child soldiers and sexual exploitation.

The 2021 International Labour Organization report  indicates that a total of 3.3 million children are in situations of forced labour on any given day, accounting for about 12 per cent of all those in forced labour. And owing to data constraints, these numbers, already alarming, may well be just the tip of the iceberg. The forced labour of children constitutes one component of child labour, which the international community – through Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals – has committed to ending by 2025.

There are concerns that the risk of forced labour among children has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. An estimated 10.4 million children, for example, have lost at least one parent to the pandemic, out of which 7 million have become orphans, leaving them vulnerable to abuse in contexts in which child support systems are inadequate.

June 12 is the United Nations-sanctioned  World Day Against Child Labour , a time to remember the young workers who have been robbed of their childhood, education, and the future they deserve.

Akhi was removed from child labour and now runs her own business.

What is child labour?

Child labour is the exploitation of children who are deprived of their childhood by work that prevents them from attending school or causes physical, mental, or social harm.

In their early developmental years,  children are especially vulnerable to injuries , though physical and mental health problems may not be evident for years.

Where is child labour a problem?

Child labour is concentrated in the world’s poorest countries, where 40.7% of children are engaged in exploitative work. Sub-Saharan Africa, home to  27 of the world’s 28 lowest income countries,  now has more children in child labour than the rest of the world combined. Child labour is also common in areas where there is insecurity or armed conflict.

Family poverty and poor schools are two major reasons children in low-income countries are in the labour force.

Different forms of Child labor have high prevalence rates in different parts of the world.

Forced labor of children in domestic work is primarily high in parts of Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and South Asia. Debt bondage is largely still practiced inform of traditional practices such as wahaya practice in Niger involving domestic work and sexual exploitation and Haliya and Kamaiya practices in Nepal involving agricultural bonded labour. In South Asia, where endemic levels of debt bondage persist among brick kiln workers, children work alongside their indentured parents.  UNODC statistics indicate that children account for one in every three detected victims of trafficking worldwide, rising to one in two in low-income countries. 

Rabson was a cattle herder and now is getting an education.

What are the worst forms of child labour?

The ILO’s Convention No. 182 defines hazardous and morally damaging forms of labour and calls for their immediate and total elimination. As defined by the convention, the worst forms of child labour include:

  • Slavery or similar practices
  • Child trafficking
  • Forced recruitment into armed conflict
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Drug production and trafficking or other illegal acts
  • Debt bondage
  • Hazardous work that can cause injury or moral corruption

How can I help end child labour?

Pray for children trapped in work that puts them in danger or prevents them from attending school. Ask God to protect them from further exploitation so that they may enjoy the physical, mental, and spiritual nurture they need to maximise their potential.

Give to support World Vision’s grassroots work around the world to protect children from child labour and other forms of exploitation, abuse, and violence.

Sponsor a child . By investing in a child’s life, you’ll help them stay in school. You’ll also help to build up their community so that there’ll be more job opportunities for them to pursue as adults.

Angel wants to stop child labour in her Philippines community.

What is World Vision doing to end child labour?

World Vision places children at the centre of all our work to transform communities for good. We empower children to know their rights and work toward their own well-being. And we work with their parents and communities to see that kids are protected and that their futures are not stolen by labour exploitation.

By taking initiative in these areas, we help create a protective environment that cares for and supports all children:

  • Providing educational services to enhance instruction quality and improve the learning environment
  • Providing support for parents to improve their incomes and food security so that children don’t need to work
  • Encouraging support for national child labour laws and their enforcement
  • Promoting social accountability for communities, governments, and businesses to combat child labour
  • Equipping communities — faith leaders, parents, and community groups — to monitor vulnerable children to keep them out of hazardous work and help their families survive without their child’s income
  • Promoting decent work for youth who are above the minimum working age through training, life skills and entrepreneurship, as well as savings and credit services
  • Empowering girls and boys to understand their rights and develop the skills to meaningfully transform their communities

Luigi and Luis help their father worked at this cemetery in Venezuela.

History of child labour

Children have always contributed to the economic upkeep of their families through farm labour and handicrafts.

However, the growth of manufacturing and farm mechanisation during the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries led to many children working under dangerous conditions in factories and farms.

This in turn prompted children labour laws that not only regulated child labour conditions, but also mandated education. Here are some highlights of child labour history:

1973  — The Minimum Age Convention, ratified by 172 countries, sets the minimum age for employment but allows some exceptions.

1989  — The UN enacts the Convention on the Rights of the Child to guarantee protection of children’s rights to grow and thrive.

1992 — The International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) is founded to promote the global elimination of child labour and to support countries in their efforts.

1999  — The ; Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention , ratified by 186 countries, requires ending practices like slavery, child trafficking, debt bondage, forced labour in armed conflict, prostitution, pornography, drug trafficking, and other illicit activities.

2021  — The UN General Assembly declares this to be the Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.

2025  — All forms of child labour are to end this year under  Target 8.7 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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World History Project - 1750 to the Present

Course: world history project - 1750 to the present   >   unit 4.

  • READ: The Emergence of Industrial Capitalism
  • READ: Class Structure
  • READ: Rise of the Proletariat
  • READ: Responses to Industrialization
  • READ: Ottilie Baader (Graphic Biography)

READ: Child Labor

  • BEFORE YOU WATCH: Capitalism and Socialism
  • WATCH: Capitalism and Socialism

First read: preview and skimming for gist

Second read: key ideas and understanding content.

  • According to the author, what was Lewis Hines’ contribution to the child labor reform movement?
  • Why did formal child labor increase, especially in Europe and the United States, during this era?
  • What was the moral objection to child labor?
  • How and why did labor unions argue against child labor?
  • Once child labor was outlawed, what did children usually end up doing?
  • How did reforms in child labor impact areas in colonized Asia and Latin America?

Third read: evaluating and corroborating

  • What do Matthew Crabtree’s testimony and Louis-René Villermé’s brief report tell you about child labor? Do they give you enough evidence to make an argument against child labor? If you were making an argument to outlaw child labor, is there any additional evidence you would want?
  • What does this article tell us about how reformers communicated to the public? What networks and communication technologies did reformers use to spread information about child labor conditions?

Child Labor

Production and distribution, a reboot, the need for reform, the moral objection to child labor.

What age are you? — Twenty-two.
Have you ever been employed in a factory? — Yes.
At what age did you first go to work in one? — Eight.
How long did you continue in that occupation? — Four years.
Will you state the hours of labour at the period when you first went to the factory, in ordinary times? — From 6 in the morning to 8 at night.
Fourteen hours? — Yes.
With what intervals for refreshment and rest? — An hour at noon.
When trade was brisk what were your hours? — From 5 in the morning to 9 in the evening.
Sixteen hours? — Yes.
With what intervals at dinner? — An hour.
Were you always on time? — No.
What was the consequence if you had been too late? — I was most commonly beaten.
Severely? — Very severely, I thought.
When you got home at night after this labour, did you feel much fatigued? — Very much so.
Had you any time to be with your parents, and to receive instruction from them? — No.
"All pale, nervous, slow in their movements, quiet at their games, they present an outward appearance of misery, of suffering, of dejection [gloom] that contrasts with the rosy color, the plumpness, the petulance [childish temper] and all the signs of glowing health that one notices in children of the same."
"The thinkers of the world, those who have given the greatest attention to the problems of human development, unite to impress upon us the truth that mankind has slowly grown out of the state of primitive barbarity, has slowly climbed to the level upon which we stand to-day, thanks to the leisure and respite [rest] granted to the young offspring of human beings. And yet, at this very moment we find that wherever mechanical industry is introduced the temptation proves almost irresistible for those who have in mind only immediate and quick material aggrandizement [increased importance/wealth], to rob the child of that leisure and respite so necessary for its own sake and for the sake of progress in general, and to employ the cheap labor of little children in order to multiply profits."
From "Child Labor a Menace to Civilization" by Felix Adler, an article from 1911.

Economic reasons to end child labor

Education before employment.

“Every day on returning from school I had my work to do. At midday as in the evening, I cut up two or three buckets of beets for the livestock; I mucked [cleaned] out the stables; and I fetched one or two [wheel] barrow loads of fodder [food] for them from a barn we had on the other side of the village.”

An uneven movement

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Article contents

Child labor.

  • Usha Nayar , Usha Nayar Usha S. Nayar has served as an expert for International Labor Organization on Child Labor and an advisor for ILO’s International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC). Besides this she has worked as a consultant for WHO and UNICEF on matters relating to child labor and served on the All India National Committee that evaluated child labor policies and practices where she addressed India’s parliament to raise awareness on child labor issues.
  • Priya Nayar Priya Nayar Priya S. Nayar works as a Communications Officer at German University Alliance, the joint North American liaison office of Freie Universität Berlin and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München that was established to deepen the research and educational relationships between these two German institutions and their U.S. and Canadian counterparts. She holds a Masters degree from the New School for Public Engagement's School of Media Studies where she researched educational tools and technologies. Priya is actively interested in child and youth studies and continues to work closely with the DAV school system in India.
  •  and  Nidhi Mishra Nidhi Mishra Co-founder and CEO at Life Circle Senior Citizens Foundation, Mumbai, India
  • Published online: 02 January 2014

The paper presents a global scenario of child labor by placing the issue in a historical context as well as comparing current work in the field. It specifically explains the psychosocial, political, and economic determinants of child labor and the prevalence of different forms as well as its magnitude in the different regions of the world. It features innovative programs and actions taken against child labor by local governments, civil societies, and United Nations bodies—mainly the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund. The paper also highlights multilateral collaborations among the UN and other international agencies that stand against child labor in general and the employment of children in hazardous conditions. It illustrates the cooperation among local governments, civic organizations, and child-rights movements that have brought gradual changes over the decades toward ending child labor. Further, it suggests that social work, relevant professional schools, and associations working in various disciplines should be engaged in research-based advocacy and find innovative solutions to control child labor.

  • child labor
  • child protection
  • child rights
  • child welfare
  • exploitation
  • proactive policies

Social work’s historic commitment to human rights, to social justice and, to vulnerable populations makes child labor an area of great concern to the profession. Poor children and poor families should have a first claim on social work’s energies and attention. In 1998, the U.S. Department of Labor released Labor Secretary Alexis M. Herman’s address to the International Labor Conference’s Child Labor Committee. In it, she said, “ [W]hile much has been accomplished by the International Labor Organization to stop the workplace from being a threat to children—clearly, very clearly much more needs to be done” (OPA Press Release, 1998 ). Since that time, it is safe to say that a lot has indeed been done, but there remains work to be accomplished to ensure the safety and well-being of all children, across the globe, from every strata of society, and to provide them with the potential that childhood holds. We cannot help but envision the faces behind the figures of child labor and present some of the important milestones in the march toward eradicating child labor.

Child labor is a significant obstacle in achieving universal primary education and other Millennium Development Goals as set by the United Nations and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This entry emphasizes the complexity of the issue of child labor, the magnitude of the problem, and the sectors in which it is prevalent. Also, in brief, it describes the significant actions of the United Nations and other prominent international agencies, civic-society organizations, and national governments in eradicating child labor. We have tried to highlight the work of these organizations and the involvement of children themselves as agents of change for improvement in their work conditions as well as efforts to ensure that hazardous and unsafe conditions are removed from all sectors of child employment. Also, this entry examines the situation from the perspective of child rights wherein all children must receive the opportunity for education, to grow and develop to their full potential as active and engaged citizens of society.

The exploitation of children has its roots firmly grounded in the pasts of most nations. According to the historian Philippe Aries, during the medieval period, children were looked upon as fully formed miniature adults, implying that they could perform physical labor and meet the same standards as adults. At around 6 or 7 years of age, children were sent to serve as apprentices in other villages, where they learned trades such as carpentry, farming, domestic service, weaving, and more (Aries, 1962 ). The industrial period in early 1800s saw employment-participation rates for child laborers as the highest in that period and the age at which they started working the lowest (Horrell and Humphries, 1995 ). This is the time when Europe and North America saw a new type of family economy that focused on industrialization. Sadly, a central part of these family’s livelihoods were the contributions made by children through their wage earning. Many contributing socio-economic factors resulted in employment for children playing a crucial role in family incomes: low wages for adults, a need for more laborers, and at-risk and vulnerable families. Children’s earnings played a key role in the overall income of the family unit (Cunningham & Viazzo, 1996 ). A century later in the 1920s, in the United States alone, sons contributed 83% and daughters 95% of their earnings to the family (Hareven, 1982 ).

The state of children in 19th-century Europe was filled with various kinds of exploitation. They were employed in factories and paid wages on which the entire family survived. Children as young as 7 or 8 years old were sent as servants and slaves to masters, who were responsible for their lodging and food; this often resulted in maltreatment of the children. Machinery and the use of chemicals made the children’s work all the more dangerous (Thomas, 1945 ). However, it set up a skill base and a platform for children to work in various industries across the world, and the age at which children started working became younger and younger. For example, the lace-making industry employed child laborers at a very young age, as did the textile industry, although only rarely was it below the age of 9. In coal mining in Britain in the 1840s, the mean age of entry was just under 9 years (Church, 1986 ). In unregulated industrialization, workshop and home-based industries, an earlier age of entry may have been the norm (Cunningham & Viazzo, 1996 ). It is important to consider the ages of entry into child labor, because they set the lifelong path for these child laborers.

Nonetheless, industrialization and economic prosperity led European and other high-income countries to redefine the period of childhood. The emphasis on education and development for children in different age groups was recognized in the mid-1900s, and children were freed from labor-related activities. They were given opportunities to be in schools and experience childhood in a different way, for not only education but also overall development, health, and recreation. These priorities, however, did not migrate to low-income countries, where children are still being exploited at the cost of their development and well-being.

In the 21st century, the International Labor Organization (ILO) defines child labor as “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development” (2012). In operational terms, child labor involves work by children that is mentally, physically, socially, or morally dangerous and/or harmful to them and that interferes with their development. In order to define the minimum age at which children can start working and to stop the exploitation of children as child laborers, ILO, on June 19, 1976, passed Convention 138, which mentions:

The minimum age for work should not be below the age for finishing compulsory schooling, which is 15.

Children between the ages of 13 and 15 years may do light work, as long as it does not threaten their health and safety, or hinder their education or vocational orientation and training.

Any hazardous work that is likely to jeopardize children’s physical, mental, or moral health; safety; or morals should not be done by anyone under the age of 18.

To further strengthen policies that protect children from all forms of child labor, but especially slavery, the trafficking of children, the forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict, the use of a child for prostitution or for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances, and the offering of a child for illicit activities such as the trafficking of drugs, ILO passed Convention 182, which came into force on November 19, 2000, with the specific aim of the prohibition of, and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor.

Edmonds ( 2009 ), in an ILO working paper, summarized the definition of child labor in 26 countries based on their national reports, highlighting that barring three countries—Bangladesh, Belize, and Mongolia—whose definition of child labor matches the ILO’s definition, the rest of the countries use modified definitions. For example, Kenya, Tanzania, Nicaragua, Pakistan, and the Philippines use terminology such as “economically active child” in their definitions. The national reports of Argentina, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Gambia, Honduras, Malawi, and South Africa include children involved in household chores in their definitions of child labor. Uganda, Turkey, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka avoid the use of the term child labor entirely. Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Guyana, and Guatemala define child labor based on the number of hours, working conditions, and age restrictions. The country report of Namibia considers conditions that cause harms to children in particular jobs—such as working in factories, mines, and markets—when defining child labor. These differences in definitions emphasize the objectives, priorities, and interests of different countries in grappling with the issues of child labor in the context of their own socio-political priorities, and not through the lens of a global crisis.

UNICEF approaches child-labor definitions by considering the various factors involved, such as the type of work—economic activities and domestic work—and the number of hours worked by children in the various age groups. For example, children ages 5 to 11 years are considered child laborers if they do at least one hour of economic work or 28 hours of domestic work per week. Similarly, those ages 12 to14 years are considered child laborers if they are found to do at least 14 hours of economic work or 28 hours of domestic work per week. Those ages 15 to17 years are considered child laborers if they do at least 43 hours of economic or domestic work per week. These quantifiable limitations to the definition of child labor have given not-for-profit organizations and child-protection lobby groups a measurable way to increase safety for this vulnerable group of children.

The skills developed during childhood plays a vital role for the evolution of a successful adult. Employment of children during the key developmental period is detrimental to the creation of their overall personality and also their skills and competencies. To put it simply, child labor discourages the formation of human capital, and in fact works as a barrier to building capacity. Child labor precludes the opportunity for upward mobility and prevents children from pursuing skills that could enhance their quality of life. Child labor therefore virtually perpetuates poverty. The World Bank recognizes that child labor is one of the “most devastating consequences of persistent poverty,” and the World Health Organization (WHO) uses terms such as child maltreatment , child abuse , and neglect for child labor. According to WHO, child labor includes “all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, development or dignity.” In this definition, the main focus is on the health of the child—both physical and psychological—which in turn impacts the overall development of children. Researchers Stein and Davis ( 1940 ), also define child labor with the focus on health as “any work by children that interferes with their full physical development, the opportunities for a desirable minimum of education and of their needed recreation.”

It is important to note that the terms child labor and child work are often used interchangeably for working children below age 17. Not all work done by children can be labeled as child labor, however. Children’s work such as helping their parents around the home, assisting in a family business, or earning pocket money outside school hours cannot be considered child labor because all these activities contribute to a child’s development and to the welfare of their families. These activities provide them with skills and experience, and help to prepare them to be productive members of society (Lieten, 2006 ).

Magnitude of Child Labor

As per UNICEF’s global database ( 2012 ) (based on national surveys from 2002 to 2011), 15% of the world’s children (excluding China) ages 5 to 14 years are engaged in child labor; in other words means, nearly one in six children ages 5 to 14 years is engaged in child labor. The database also suggests that equal percentage of boys and girls are likely to be engaged in child labor, across all regions. Table 1 shows the distribution in percentages.

According to ILO’s ( 2010 ) Global Report, in 2008, globally there were around 215 million child laborers ages 5 to 17 years. Of these, 127 million were boys and 88 million were girls; 74 million boys and 41 million girls were involved in child labor’s worst forms. More than two thirds (153 million) were 5 to 14 years old, and about 4 in 10 child laborers (91 million) were younger than 12.

As per the same report, the overall number of children ages 5 to 17 years engaged in child labor decreased by 7 million from 222 million to 215 million over four years. Most of the observed decline in child labor was in the number of girls and in the 5- to 14-year-old age group. The number of girl child laborers decreased by 15 million to 88 million, and the overall number of child laborers of both sexes below age 15 declined from 170 million to 153 million. The number of children in hazardous work declined by 13 million, from 128 million in 2004 to 115 million in 2008. There was only a slight decrease among boys, and the trend reversed in the case of adolescents 15 to 17 years old. In the latter age cohort, the number increased by 10.5 million to reach 62 million, and the incidence rose by 2.5 percentage points.

In the same report, the Asian-Pacific region had the most child laborers ages 5 to 17 (113.6 million) as compared with 65.1 million in sub-Saharan Africa and 14.1 million in Latin America and the Caribbean. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest incidence of child labor, with one in four children involved.

With regard to child labor by status in employment, the same report mentioned that two thirds of child laborers ages 5 to 17 years old are unpaid family workers (64% for boys versus 73% for girls). Paid employment and self-employment account respectively for 21% and 5% of all child laborers in the same age group.

Prevalence of Child Labor

Child laborers broadly work in three main sectors of employment: the agricultural sector, the services sector, and the industrial sector. The agricultural sector has the largest number of child laborers at 60%, the services sector employs 26% of these child laborers, and the industry sector 7% (Diallo, Hagemann, Etienne, Gurbuzer, & Mehran, 2010 ). The agriculture sector employs children in agricultural activities such as farming, fishing, and hunting, whereas the services sector includes employment in restaurants, hotels, transport and storage, wholesale, retail, communications, finance, insurance, and real estate services, as well as community and personal services. The industrial sector include jobs in mining, quarrying, manufacturing, construction, and public utilities.

Agriculture Sector

In the ILO’s (2010) Global Report that measured trends from year 2004 to 2008 (Diallo et al., 2010 )—60% of child laborers were employed in agriculture-related activities. This amounted to more than 129 million children, of whom 62.8% were boys and 37.2% were girls. Among them, the majority (67.5%) of child laborers were unpaid family members who entered into work at an early age (5 to 7 years), and could include one or a combination of the following: labor on family farms, commercial farms, and plantations; labor contracted to commercial farms; bonded child labor; and trafficked and forced labor/slavery. ILO’s ( 1996 ) Wageworkers in Agriculture reported that conditions of employment, such as wages and availability of employment on commercial farms suggested that the prevalence of child labor in both small and large commercial farms is relatively high in many countries. According to the ILO and the National Confederation of Employers’ ( 2005 ) Organizations of the Azerbaijan Republic in Azerbaijan, agriculture is a major user of child labor, especially in cotton production and for crops such as tobacco. The above illustration is representative of how agriculture has emerged as a major sector in child labor; wherein there are no formal contracts, and children are employed in picking, crop thinning, and weeding. It is understood that this practice has ties to traditions from the Soviet era, when the state policy encouraged engaging families in cotton production as a main source of family income.

The agricultural sector is also home to bonded-labor contracts; the most prevalent form is debt bondage. These are found in South Asia and Latin America, where in return for credit or a cash advance, people offer their labor and/or the labor of their children until the debt is repaid. Often only the child is bonded (ILO, 2006 ). Direct forced child labor, which in turn is often linked to child trafficking, is also found in agriculture (ILO, 2006 ). In 2002, the Sustainable Tree Crops Program of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, in cooperation with the ILO’s International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) conducted a study on child labor on some 1,500 cocoa-producing farms in Cameroon, the Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria. The study found that hundreds of thousands of children were engaged in hazardous tasks on cocoa farms. Many child laborers came from impoverished countries in the region, such as Burkina Faso, Mali, and Togo. It was also found that parents sold their children in the belief the children would find work and send earnings home.

Besides farming, fishing and aquaculture are other sectors that employ children. According to the report of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Workshop on Child Labor in Fisheries and Aquaculture in cooperation with ILO (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2010 ) there is no global data on the prevalence and concentration of child labor in fishing and aquaculture. Case studies, however, indicate that child labor in the sector is most common in informal and small-scale operations of capture fisheries, aquaculture, and post-harvest fish processing, distribution, and marketing. Small-scale fisheries provide more than 90% of the 120 million livelihoods derived directly and indirectly from fisheries and support more than 500 million people—about 8% of the world population. FAO and ILO’s ( 2011 ), Good Practice Guide for Addressing Child Labor in Fisheries and Aquaculture: Policy and Practice , highlights the findings of some countrywide and regionwide surveys conducted to explore child labor in fisheries. In one (Allison, Béné, & Andrew, 2011 ) in four developing countries (Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ghana, and the Philippines) it was found that child labor in fisheries represents some 2% to 5% of the total number of child laborers in these countries. Children, of whom a majority—up to 91%—were boys, constituted about 9% to 12% of the total fisheries labor force in these countries. In another survey (O’Riordan, 2006 ), 29% of the total workforces in the fisheries sector in Senegal were found to be children under the age of 15. In addition, a survey on child labor on the Baluchistan coast of Pakistan revealed a 30% incidence of child labor, with children accounting for 27% of workers employed in the fishing sector (Hai, Fatima, & Sadaqat, 2010 ). All these studies throw some light on the magnitude of child labor in fisheries.

After farming and fisheries, forestry is another area where child laborers work. As per the ILO, it is the least researched activity. Although there is no global figure on this, region wise statistics of ILO show that 85% of victims in some Latin American countries are younger than 12 years. As per ILO’s document on Forestry ( 2013 ) child labor in difficult or dangerous working conditions are found in most forestry workplaces, which are often in remote areas and sometimes in temporary and shifting locations. Isolation increases vulnerability to exploitation in forestry for indigenous and other ethnic minorities. This can easily hamper law enforcement, trade-union representation, and community support. Isolation and migration can also make it difficult for children to enroll in and attend schools. The ILO Global Report, in a follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work ( 2011a ), highlighted that a number of serious violations of fundamental rights in forestry work, including the use of child labor and bonded labor, were been documented in the first decades of the 21st century by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations.

For child laborers, agriculture is one of the three most dangerous industries to work in; the others are construction and mining (ILO, 2006 ). Fatality rates associated with agricultural work are second only to mining (Windau & Sygnatur, 1999 ). In addition, it has been noted that the hazardous work that children do in agriculture fields often results in horrifying accidents (ILO, 2006 ). For the protection of child laborers in the agriculture sector, the ILO ( 1969 ) passed some conventions, such as the Labor Inspection (Agriculture) Convention No. 129, which establishes international standards for labor inspection in agriculture. Labor inspection in agriculture includes securing the enforcement of national legal provisions relating to conditions of work and the protection of workers, such as provisions relating to hours, wages, weekly rest and holidays, safety, health and welfare, and the employment of women, children, and young persons. Another convention, the ILO ( 2001 ) Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention No. 184, aims to prevent occupational accidents and injury to health by controlling hazards in the agricultural working environment. It includes provisions on preventive and protective measures, machine safety and ergonomics, handling and transport of materials, sound management of chemicals, and coverage in case of occupational injuries and diseases. It specifies 18 years as the minimum age for assignment to hazardous work. Regarding fishing work, the ILO ( 2007a ) passed the Work in Fishing Convention No. 188; it establishes labor standards relevant to all fishers, whether on large vessels on international voyages or in small boats operating in domestic waters close to shore. It addresses the particular working situations and conditions in the fishing industry. The minimum age for admission to work on board a fishing vessel is specified. The general minimum age is 16 years.

Apart from the conventions, the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labor in Agriculture between the ILO, FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP), and International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) is another step toward the protection of children in agriculture. This partnership was launched in 2007.

In spite of partnerships, researchers (Mwamadi & Seiffert, 2012 ) have indicated that the progress in reducing child labor in agriculture has been slow where there are high levels of poverty. They further highlighted the limited coverage of agriculture and family undertakings in national labor legislations, limited unionization, fragmentation of the labor force, the low capacity of labor inspectors to cover remote rural areas, the majority of child laborers working as unpaid family labor without formal contracts, the continuity between rural households and the workplace, traditions of children participating in agricultural activities from a young age, low family income, and an absence of schools as some major issues preventing the liberation of child laborers in the agriculture sector.

Services Sector

Among the 26% child laborers reported to be working in the services sector in 2008 (Diallo et al., 2010 ), girls (52.6%) outnumbered boys (47.4%). Surveys of this sector have been done primarily in the area of domestic child labor.

According to the Global Report under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (2010) domestic child labor is largely carried out by girls because they can be easily isolated and have little protection or social support. Many girls migrate from rural areas to find work as domestic help or are trafficked for such work. As per the ILO’s ( 2007b ) resource material on domestic child labor throughout the world, thousands of children are working as domestic helpers, performing tasks such as cleaning, ironing, cooking, minding children, and gardening. Due to the hidden nature of this type of work, it is impossible to have reliable figures on how many children are globally exploited. Some regional level data are available to highlight the prevalence of domestic labor in such regions, however. For example, ILO reports have shown that around 175,000 children under 18 are employed in domestic service in Central America (ILO, 2002a ), more than 688,000 in Indonesia (Matsuno & Blagbrough, 2006 ) alone, 53,942 under 15 years in South Africa (ILO, 2004 ) and 38,000 children between 5 and 7 years in Guatemala (ILO, 2002a ).

Industry Sector

Among the 7% of child laborers reported in this sector in 2008, according to the ILO global report (2010), there are proportionately more boys (68.5%) than girls (31.5%).

In rural areas of several Asian, North African, and Middle Eastern countries, where labor is abundant and cheap, many child laborers are found in the industry of carpet weaving. The rising demand for carpets, coupled with low wages, illiteracy, and the availability of children for this highly labor-intensive industry, has created ripe conditions for the use of children as carpet weavers [ILO’s ( 2011a ) report on Children in Hazardous Conditions].

Mining and quarrying are forms of child labor that are dangerous for children. They are physically dangerous because of the heavy and awkward loads, the strenuous work, the unstable underground structures, heavy tools and equipment, the use of toxic and often explosive chemicals, and the exposure to extremes of heat and cold. In relation to this, an ILO report ( 2011b ) highlighted a substantial involvement of girls in mining in Ghana, Niger, Peru, and Tanzania.

According to the ILO, child labor in mining has not received as much attention as some other forms of child labor, because the number of children involved in it is estimated to be roughly 1 million, with many countries having only a few hundred scattered here and there. The ILO considers this dangerous work that should be stopped immediately. Toward this end, on the World Day against Child Labor in June 2005, tripartite delegations from 15 countries presented agreements of commitment to end child labor in small-scale mining within 5 to 10 years.

Related Forms of Child Labor

Child labor in armed forces.

According to the ILO, the use of children in armed conflict is one of the worst forms of child labor, a violation of human rights, and a war crime. Regarding the prevalence of child labor in armed forces, UNICEF ( 2009 ) highlighted that more than 1 billion children live in countries or territories affected by armed conflict. The International Training Centre’s ( 2010 ) guide mentions that tens of thousands of girls and boys find themselves fighting adult wars in different regions around the world. ILO Convention No.182 is an essential initiative taken against this type of abuse of children.

Child Trafficking

Child trafficking is classified by ILO Convention No. 182 as one of the worst forms of child labor (WFCL), to be eliminated as a matter of urgency, irrespective of a country’s level of development. Child trafficking is a disgrace that directly affects an estimated 1.2 million children at any given time (ILO, 2002b ). In 2005, the ILO estimated that 980,000 to 1,225,000 children—both boys and girls—were in forced-labor situations as a result of trafficking. In 2006, ILO constituents committed to eliminating child trafficking, and all other WFCL, by 2016.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

The ILO considers commercial sexual exploitation of children a repugnant violation of the human rights of children and adolescents and a form of economic exploitation similar to slavery and forced labor, which also implies a crime on the part of those who use girls and boys and adolescents in the sex trade. According to ILO, this type of exploitation includes:

The use of girls and boys in child prostitution, in such places as brothels, discotheques, massage parlors, bars, hotels, restaurants, etc.

The trafficking of girls and boys, and adolescents, for the sex trade.

The production, promotion, and distribution of pornography involving children.

The use of children in sex shows (public or private.)

Determinants of Child Labor

Child labor tends to be prevalent in low-income and developing countries. There are, however, various other causes, such as poor implementation of laws against child labor, family circumstances, socio-cultural factors, poor educational facilities, and epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, as well as some global factors, such as globalization and industrialization. Some of these factors are interrelated, and often more than one together contribute toward child labor. While focusing on the impact of poverty and lack of proper education, the ILO ( 2011b ) emphasized in its report on Hazardous Child Labor that poverty and lack of access to quality education are the major root causes of child labor. According to the report, this issue can be addressed by providing adults with opportunities for employment and ensuring social protection for the vulnerable and marginalized sections of society, which in turn will make them less dependent on the work of children. The key to making a substantial impact on protecting children from exploitation is to find a way to break their poverty cycle.

Poverty and Challenging Family Conditions

According to UNICEF ( 1997 ), where society is characterized by poverty and injustice, the incidence of child labor is likely to increase. In this regard, a review of nine Latin American countries in 1995 showed that without the income of working children ages 13 to 17, the incidence of poverty would have risen between 10% and 20% (United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, 1995 ).

Often, poor family conditions have played a major role in pushing children to work as child labor in agriculture, services, or industry. For example, in a study of street children in three Turkish cities, 28 of the 65 families interviewed included members who were seriously ill and had no health insurance or social security. The existence of health problems along with poverty resulted in economically, socially, and psychologically insecure environments for the children, and thus a reason for child labor (Aksit, Karanci, & Hoşgör, 2001 ). Another study, of child domestic labor in Thailand, found that many parents want to earn money for their family through their children, and that is why they force their children into domestic labor despite the knowledge that the children may suffer physically and psychologically from hard work and abuse (Phlainoi, 2002 ).

It has been highlighted by some studies that child labor is related to parents’ employment. Duryea, Lam, and Levison ( 2007 ) found that children in urban Brazil work more when adults in the household experience an unemployment spell. In India, Kambhampati and Rajan ( 2005 ) found that an increase in a parent’s wage does in fact lower child labor. Some studies have also highlighted the fact that in some cases, child labor in the agriculture sector is triggered either by problems or an increase in agricultural work that directly impacts the economic conditions of family. Beegle, Dehejia, and Gatti ( 2006 ) found that child labor increases in Tanzania when there is an unexpectedly poor harvest. Dammert ( 2008 ) found that children in the regions of Peru began to engage in more market work after coca production shifted to Colombia.

Similarly, various surveys conducted by the ILO and UNICEF in different parts of the world have highlighted poverty in the family as a main cause for child labor. For instance, in rural Tanzania, households with children working on coffee plantations and farms, on small and large-scale tea plantations, and on tobacco farms and plantations were found to have low levels of income, and many children were relying on themselves for food and other expenses (ILO, 2001 ). In another survey, UNICEF estimated that each job held by a migrant worker in Côte d’Ivoire contributes to the economic well-being of 20 members of his/her extended family in the region (UNICEF, 2003 ).

Cultural Factors

Some cultures promote child work as a part of their traditions. In the West and Central African subregion, participation of children—either by traveling with their parents or by being placed in the household of other members of the larger family for apprenticeship—is a widespread and traditional practice (ILO, 2006 ).

Many dominant cultural groups paradoxically may not desire their own children to be involved in child labor, but they are not as concerned if young people from racial, ethnic, or economic minorities do it. Some such evidences are in northern Europe, where child laborers are likely to be of African or Turkish origin; in the United States, where they are Asian or Latin American; in Canada, where they are Asian; in Brazil, where they are children of indigenous people with no political support; in Argentina, where many are Bolivian and Paraguayan; and in Thailand’s fishing industry, many are from Myanmar (UNICEF, 1997 ).

Poor Legislative Measures

Sometimes lack of laws or poor implementation of laws against child labor in some parts of the countries also results in a high prevalence of child labor. For example, child laborers in the agriculture sector have weak or nonexistent labor laws and nonenforcement of existing laws, greatly facilitate the practice of using child labor in agriculture (ILO, 2006 ).

Poor Educational Systems

Many times, the lack of a good-quality school infrastructure; cooperative, empathetic, and knowledgeable teachers in remote rural areas; affordable school fees; and accessibility of education to poor and rural children results in the involvement of children in labor. In many countries, schools are allowed to close for several weeks so that children can work on the farms and plantations—an echo of past negative practices of some countries that are still being followed so that child labor may continue (ILO, 2006 ).

Impact of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

A series of IPEC rapid-assessment studies in Africa suggests that HIV/AIDS is among the major causes of child labor in that region (Rau, 2003 ). For Zambia alone, it has been estimated that HIV/AIDS has added as many as 23% to 30% to the child labor force (Mushingeh et al., 2002 ). In communities with predominant engagement in agriculture, the number of child-headed households has increased as the parents have died from the virus and extended family networks cannot cope with the sheer numbers of orphans (ILO, 2006 ). In the absence of family, the orphaned children are left to fend for themselves by working as child laborers in various sectors. In sub-Saharan African regions, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and ILO-AIDS ( 2004 ) cautioned that incidence of HIV/AIDS has clear implications for the continued or even increased use of child labor.

Children as a Cheap Source of Labor

Child laborers are often paid less by adults because of age factors, and they are therefore considered a cheap source of labor. This is another reason behind involvement of children in labor. The U.S. Department of Labor study in its survey in 1995 of Central and Latin America highlighted that children (ages 12 to 14) comprised 30% of internal migrants within Guatemala working on coffee, sugar cane, cardamom, and cotton plantations. They did the same work as adults and were paid half the wage. Similarly, in Brazil, in the principal cane-growing and processing area, children and adolescents ages 10 to 17 accounted for approximately 25% of the total number of cane workers.

Impact of Globalization of Agricultural Products

Globalization has impacted developing and lesser-developed countries to export more of their agricultural products that in turn have led them to depend on migrant laborers, who increasingly include child laborers (ILO, 2006 ). These numbers ought to be reducing as we fight against child labor practices, but the speed at which globalization is affecting the world is frighteningly dangerous for at-risk children.

Strategies to Combat Issues Related to Child Labor

As is evident from the earlier sections related to the magnitude and complexity of the problem of child labor, various approaches have consistently been adopted to provide children the space to enjoy their years of childhood. Poverty and lack of access to education seem to be the principal reasons for child labor. If so, social work’s participation in programs that generate employment, that promote inclusive economic development, that strive to build a safety net, that aim for a guaranteed level of food security, and that promote women’s empowerment makes it a natural ally of those movements and organizations that are fighting to halt the practice of child labor.

Though it may not be possible within this framework to list all the initiatives that have been implemented, we shall be able to cover major approaches and themes to facilitate a broad overview of this issue as related to the well-being of the next generation. The problem is much deeper than it seems on the surface. In the recent history of child labor, there has been a shift in the approach to combat child labor—removing children from child labor requires phenomenal resources, both human and material. Hence, stopping children from working in hazardous and unsafe conditions became an urgent priority. Governments were pressured by the UN and other international bodies, civic organizations, and media campaigns to stop these practices. For other sectors of child labor, long-term measures were developed: schooling children, improving the quality of education and employment of men and women in the family, and implementing minimum wages and other measures of breaking the poverty cycle of families.

To address directly the issue of child labor, strategies include implementing legislation, forming child-protection policies, enforcing of laws and policies, setting up programs for the education of children, advocacy campaigns regarding awareness of child labor issues for employers of child labor as well as public at large, civil-society movements for dealing with poverty issues, and envisioning child laborers themselves as a movement for the change under the umbrella of the UN convention of child rights. Some such initiatives are discussed in this section.

Global Initiatives Toward Elimination of Child Labor: Policy, Programs, and Advocacy

Through its agencies—such as the ILO, UNICEF, and the WHO—the United Nations has taken various initiatives toward eradication of child labor at the global level. Among them, ILO has taken a lead, working toward elimination of child labor since 1919 through its various conventions, declarations, events, and programs.

In 1919, ILO adopted its first convention against child labor. The Minimum Age (Industry) Convention (No. 5) was adopted with the aim of establishing the minimum age for the admission of children to industrial employment. Following this, the ILO adopted other similar conventions for fixing the minimum age for admission of children to other working sectors (see Table 1 ).

The most important initiative of the ILO toward eradication of child labor is its International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC), which was created in 1992 with the overall goal of progressive elimination of child labor, which was to be achieved through strengthening the capacity of countries to deal with the problem and promoting a worldwide movement to combat child labor. As per ILO, since its creation, IPEC has grown to become the biggest dedicated anti-child-labor program in the world and the largest technical-cooperation program within the ILO, spending more than $60 million in 2008.

The quantity of IPEC’s partners has expanded over the years and now includes employers and workers organizations, other international and government agencies, private businesses, community-based organizations, NGOs, the media, legislators, the judiciary, universities, religious groups, and children and their families.

As per ILO, these efforts, along with those of local like-minded organizations, leaders, and communities, have resulted in hundreds of thousands of children being withdrawn from work and rehabilitated, or prevented from entering the workforce. Complementary to the direct action there has been substantial in-depth statistical and qualitative research, policy and legal analysis, program evaluation, and child labor monitoring, which have permitted the accumulation of a vast knowledge base of statistical data and methodologies, thematic studies, good practices, guidelines, and training materials for the study of child labor.

Some programs of IPEC against child labor operating as of 2012 were (Gunn & Graczyk, 2012 ):

The SCREAM program in Uganda: “Supporting Children’s Rights through Education, the Arts and the Media.” SCREAM helps child laborers make themselves visible to society so that people can no longer remain indifferent to their plight. It gives them a voice that often children working in hazardous conditions lack.

“Academies” on young-worker safety in the United States: Academies give youths intensive training on a particular topic, such as workplace health, safety, and rights. In an academy, youths not only learn, but they also develop strategies and plans for action that they can use when they return to their own communities to help ensure that young people do not get hurt on the job.

Mobile Schools in Romania: The “Mobile Schools” project was implemented by Save the Children’s Iasi branch in conjunction with an IPEC action program. The ultimate aim of this project was to remove children from the streets, where they were exposed to various types of hazardous work, and to ensure their right to education.

The IPEC program “Strengthening Trade Union Action to Promote Vocational Training for Adolescents in Haiti,” implemented by the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA) in collaboration with the Haitian trade union Confédération des Travailleurs Haïtiens (CTH), provided vocational skills training to vulnerable youth in the region to promote decent work opportunities for the future.

Encouraged by country-level collaborations, the ILO set the deadline of eradicating the worst forms of child labor by 2016.

Initiatives Taken by UNICEF

UNICEF is also working worldwide toward eradication of child labor through its action-based programs, policy initiatives, and documentation work in collaboration with different countries. UNICEF has come up with some very useful publications, based on global and countrywide data, which are used as a major source for advocacy and awareness of child labor. These include Child Labor and School Attendance: Evidence from MICS and DHS Surveys (Huebler, 2008 ), Child Labor, Education and the Principle of Non-discrimination (Gibbons, Huebler, & Loaiza, 2005 ), and Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children Statistical Review (UNICEF, 2007 ). Every year UNICEF publishes the State of the World’s Children report, which discusses the situation of child labor at a global level and is an important source for advocacy, awareness and program implementation against child labor.

Contributions of WHO Toward the Prevention of Child Labor

WHO, through its initiatives against child labor, started in the 1980s with technical research studies, prepared training manuals for health professionals, policy planners, and NGOs to intervene based on evidence that child labor impacts adversely the health, nutrition, and mental health of children (Naidu, 1985 ). WHO has supported interagency initiatives, organized training programs for health administrators and policy planners, and co-sponsored conferences on the health implications of child labor. WHO provided technical support to governments on prevention of health hazards of children employed in various situations (Naidu). Further, WHO brought out issues related to the maltreatment of child laborers and has collaborated with the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) for the development of preventing child maltreatment: a guide for taking action and generating evidence to assist countries to design and deliver programs for the prevention of child maltreatment by parents and caregivers. The guide provides technical advice for professionals working in governments, research institutes and NGOs on how to measure the extent of child maltreatment and its consequences; how to design, implement and evaluate prevention programs and on important considerations for detecting and responding to child maltreatment. The guide is a practical tool that will help governments implement the recommendations of the recently released United Nations Secretary General’s Study on Violence against Children.

WHO, ISPCAN and other partners are working intensively with a small number of selected countries to develop model prevention programs built around this guide, and WHO headquarters and regional and country offices will provide advice and technical support in response to requests for assistance more generally. Since child labor is related to child maltreatment, this guide will prove to be an important tool toward control of child labor, mainly at family level.

World Bank’s Contribution Toward Elimination of Child Labor

The World Bank is also contributing to the elimination of child labor by focusing mainly on improvements in educational systems in different countries. Another initiative of the World Bank, in collaboration with the ILO and UNICEF, is the program on Understanding Children’s Work (UCW).

UCW is guided by the road map adopted at The Hague Global Child Labor Conference (2010). The road map calls for effective partnership across UN member states to address child labor, and for mainstreaming child labor laws into policy and development frameworks. It also calls for improved knowledge sharing and for developing further methodologies and capacity to conduct research on child labor. UCW research activities are designed to identify policies that impact upon the lives of child laborers in countries where they are prominent. It provides a common understanding of child labor and a common basis for action against it. It extends to a variety of policy issues associated with child labor, including education, youth employment, and migration.

Action Against Child Labor by Governments and Civil Societies: Illustrations From Two Countries

Sub-Saharan regions and the Asia Pacific region have been found to have the world’s major proportion of child labor in their countries. As it is not possible here to share all the initiatives taken by governments and civil societies in all the countries, a sampling of some of the programs and policy-level initiatives taken by a country from each of these regions is mentioned here. They provide an illustration of the diverse and intense actions taken against child labor in these countries.

One of the local nongovernmental organizations of Kenya working toward elimination of child labor is ChildLine Kenya, which registered in Kenya under the NGO Coordination Act in 2005.

It works toward the protection and promotion of children’s rights in the country by implementing innovative communication- and technology-driven programs. One of its core services is the National Child Helpline 116, a 24-hour, toll-free helpline for children, young persons, and their families.

Besides the helpline, it also runs numerous public-education programs about child rights and child-welfare issues through creating community awareness, organizing media events and school and community outreach sessions, and educating parents. One such program is the School Outreach program, in which teachers and students are trained on child protection and children welfare. Another program uses a peer-education approach to child protection in which children are supported to promote their well-being through enhancing positive behavior change among their peers. As a part of its awareness-raising campaign, ChildLine Kenya spreads the word about the helpline service as well as child rights, child protection, and child welfare using a broad spectrum of marketing and communication channels, including print and electronic media, road shows, and mobile cinema (for example, CINEMARENA with Italian cooperation).

The government of Kenya has made positive strides toward the elimination of child labor. It became a member of the International Labor Organization’s International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC) in 1992. Since then, ILO-IPEC Kenya has launched 67 action programs on child labor and several mini-programs in collaboration with 22 partner agencies, including government agencies, employers and labor organizations, a wide range of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and media-based organizations (International Labor Organization & IPEC, 2001 ).

Kenya’s Ministry of Education has sought to address gender discrepancies in the country’s educational system, which is also an indirect measure toward control of child labor, especially in the case of girls. In 1995, the government of Kenya created a Gender Unit within the Ministry of Education. This unit works with other ministries within the government, with NGOs, and with community leaders to promote education for girls. In addition, the Ministry of Education has worked with UNICEF on a Girl Child Program, which aims to close the gender gap in education (Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, 1997 ).

India is the second most populous country in the world. Compared to other nations, it has a significantly high percentage of young people. As per the census of India in 2001, there were 12.6 million working children in the age group of 5 to 14 as compared to the total child population of 25.2 crore. This statistic is a cause for concern and necessitates implementation of initiatives for controlling the problem of child labor in the country.

For controlling the problem of child labor, various innovative programs have been implemented by NGOs that are directly or indirectly working against child labor. An important point to note here is that although they all are working against child labor, they are using different innovative techniques to control this problem. For example, Pratham, a national-level NGO, not only raises awareness about child rights issues and educating underprivileged children, it also rescues child laborers and victims of child trafficking through its Council for Vulnerable Children and prepares them to be mainstreamed into formal school. In addition to this, the council also partners with state governments in drafting official protocols for dealing with rescued children and advising legislation concerning child labor. Similarly, another national-level initiative, Teach for India by Teach to Lead, works indirectly toward controlling child labor by providing quality education to the children with the help of college graduates and young professionals who commit two-years to teaching full-time in under-resourced schools.

Other NGOs, such as Concerned for Working Children (CWC) and Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA), focus on training children and youths to be change agents for dealing with child labor. CWC, through its union of working children, Bhima Sangh, works toward empowerment of child laborers and thus encourages them to take action against child labor themselves. Over the ensuing years, Bhima Sangh has intervened effectively in a wide array of problems for its members and other working children. Bhima Sangh is a perfect example of training children as change agents. Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA), through its youth program Anubhav Shiksha Kendra (ASK), trains and sensitizes youths about various social issues, including the issue of child labor, and thus prepares them to take action against such issues and work toward social transformation.

As far as the role of government is concerned, the Ministry of Labor and Employment, in 1979, formed the first committee (the Gurupadswamy Committee) to study the issue of child labor and suggest measures to tackle it. Based on the recommendations of the Gurupadswamy Committee, the Child Labor (Prohibition & Regulation) Act was enacted in 1986. The Act prohibits the employment of children in certain specified hazardous occupations, and it regulates the working conditions in others. The list of hazardous occupations and processes is progressively being expanded on the recommendation of Child Labor Technical Advisory Committee, which was constituted under the Act.

With reference to the above approach, a National Policy on Child Labor was formulated in 1987. The policy seeks to adopt a gradual and sequential approach with a focus on rehabilitation of children working in hazardous occupations and processes.

In addition to the above, the government is taking practical steps to tackle this problem through stringent enforcement of legislative provisions along with concurrent rehabilitative measures. Obviously, more work needs to be done in order to address the issue of child labor eradication comprehensively.

Way Forward

The journey to achieve a child labor free world is a long one, because of the complexities involved not just at a local level but also on the global platform. Child labor, in terms of percentage of children engaged in illegal employment, is on the decline, however. Both direct and indirect ways of addressing the problem are warranted. Social workers need to take a prominent role in formulating those policies that discourage or outlaw child labor. They also need to ensure that these policies are adequately implemented. They need to create broad awareness of the deleterious consequences of child labor—for the children involved, for their families, and for society as a whole. They should work with the media, with employers, with unions, with faith-based institutions, and with other parts of the civil society to launch a sustained and multipronged attack on the practice of child labor. Two foci that indirectly address the prevalence of child labor are poverty alleviation and access to quality primary education. Both are absolutely important and need to be addressed simultaneously.

The contributions of UN and other international agencies in dealing with the issues related to child labor are significant. The UN Convention of Child Rights, as well as the ILO’s conventions, has been important milestones in the journey to achieve a child-labor-free world. What is important to note is that it is not just the multilateral collaborations among UN and other international agencies that stand against the hazardous employment of children, but also the cooperation of local governments and civic organizations that bring a gradual change over the decades toward ending child labor once and for all. These cooperations can be and often are small-scale initiatives and efforts undertaken by civic organizations and not-for-profit agencies. Each and every child laborer who was helped by dedicated organizations and individuals is one life saved, one future preserved, and innumerable opportunities presented.

A global voice for the plight of child laborers in the form of interventions by UN and international agencies has created awareness on the ill effects of letting children continue to work instead of going to school and created the necessary urgency so that state and political agencies may act in favor of child-centric policies. We now have international tools that provide assessment and accountability for nation states so that they may gauge the development and well-being of children. International organizations have insisted on making legal, policy and program, and budget provisions for developmental opportunities for children for education, health, and recreation as active citizens of not just countries and cities but of the world. These global and local collaborations are the only solution to bring tangible results in the child labor scenario in cities and rural areas, and their continued progressive alliances bring hope for a better future for all children.

We all are aware, however, that the work is not yet complete. Our efforts must be enhanced by engaging professional schools and associations that work in the social work, education, psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, humanities, and liberal arts fields to develop research, promote advocacy and teaching-learning modules using digital technology, utilize new media tools, and find innovative solutions to free child laborers. Social work research also has a role. Collecting reliable data about child labor and assessing the efficacy of interventions to combat this problem, in collaboration with cognate professions, is a much-needed step. Both the causes and consequences of child labor need to be more scientifically studied. Of special attention is the need to understand the two-way relationship between poverty and schools, and how both of these affect the practice or prevalence of child labor. Social workers typically take a systems perspective in analyzing a problem. They also use the full repertoire of intervention strategies (working with the individual, the family, the community, and the policy makers) to mitigate, manage, or eliminate it. It would appear that the problem of child labor could be fruitfully addressed using this social work perspective. Data-based advocacy is likely to be more effective, and toward this end it is important to create stronger alliances with children themselves. The children—both child laborers and school-going children—bring their unique perspectives, on-the-ground stories, and creativity to the process of ending child labor. Together, all of us can engage in a powerful and meaningful conversation that results in peer relationships among all children beyond boundaries as a secure foundation for our next generations.

Table 1 Percentage of Boy and Girl Child Laborers in Regions

Source: UNICEF Global Database, 2012

Appendix 1. ILO Significant Conventions and Declarations to Combat Child Labor

In 1920, the Minimum Age (Sea) Convention (No. 7) was adopted for fixing the minimum age for admission of children to employment at sea.

In 1921, the Minimum Age (Agriculture) Convention (No. 10) was adopted for fixing the minimum age for admission of children to employment in agriculture.

In 1932, the Minimum Age (Non-Industrial Employment) Convention (No. 33) for fixing the age for admission of children to nonindustrial employment.

In 1936, the Minimum Age (Sea) Convention (Revised) (No. 58) was adopted for revising the age limit for the admission of children to employment at sea.

In 1937, the Minimum Age (Industry) Convention (Revised) (No. 59) was adopted for revising the age limit for admission of children to industrial employment.

In 1937, the Minimum Age (Non-Industrial Employment) Convention (Revised) (No. 60) was adopted for revising the age limit for admission of children to nonindustrial employment.

In 1959, the Minimum Age (Fishermen) Convention (No. 112) was adopted for fixing the minimum age for admission to employment as fishermen.

In 1965, the Minimum Age (Underground Work) Convention (No. 123) was passed concerning the Minimum Age for admission to employment underground in mines.

In all these conventions, different age limits were fixed; minimum ages ranged from 14 to 18 years, with different clauses attached to them. Finally, toward this end, the ILO, in 1973, adopted the Minimum Age Convention (No. 138) for preventing children from entering into child labor at a young age by fixing the minimum age for entry into employment as 18 years. Along with this convention, the ILO also adopted, in 1999, the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention (No. 182), which brought the world’s attention to the need to take immediate action to eradicate those forms of child labor that are hazardous and damaging to children’s physical, mental, or moral well-being. These two conventions are fundamental conventions of the ILO, and member states have to abide by them.

The ILO’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, adopted in 1998, is another initiative toward the protection of children against child labor. The Declaration commits member states to respecting and promoting principles and rights in four categories, one of which is the abolition of child labor. The principle of the effective abolition of child labor means ensuring that every girl and boy has the opportunity to develop physically and mentally to her or his full potential. Its aim is to stop all work by children that jeopardizes their education and development. Various workshops, courses, training programs, and focus program for civil society are being organized for countries worldwide as part of a follow-up to this declaration, specifically toward abolition of child labor. Also, relevant global reports are published mainly for advocacy purposes.

Apart from the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Right, in 2008, the ILO adopted the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, which recognizes the particular significance of the fundamental rights, including the effective abolition of child labor. By adopting this declaration, the representatives of governments, employers, and workers organizations from member states committed to enhancing the ILO’s capacity to advance progress and social justice in the context of globalization through the Decent Work Agenda. This is another step toward abolition of child labor to facilitate country-to-country technical cooperation within regions and across continents against child labor, strengthen the worldwide movement against child labor, and assume for the ILO a leadership role in the movement.

By 2009, IPEC was operational in 92 countries in all regions of the world with its various training and advocacy programs against child labor.

During the biennium 2008–09, IPEC activities benefited some 300,000 children directly and more than 52 million indirectly.

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  • International Labour Organization . (1969, June 25). Convention concerning labour inspection in agriculture . Adoption: Geneva, 53rd ILC session (Entry into force: 19 Jan 1972). Geneva, Switzerland.
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  • International Labour Organization (ILO) . (2001, June 21). Convention concerning safety and health in agriculture . Adoption: Geneva, 89th ILC session (Entry into force: 20 Sep 2003). Geneva, Switzerland.
  • International Labour Organization (ILO) . (2002a). A future without child labor: Global report under the follow-up to the ILO declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work . Geneva, Switzerland: International Labor Organization 90th Session.
  • International Labour Organization (ILO) . (2002b). Trabajo infantil doméstico en América Central y República Dominicana: Síntesis sub regional . San Jose, CA: Author.
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  • International Labor Organization (ILO) . (2006). Tackling hazardous child labor in agriculture: Guidance on policy and practice user guide . Turin, Italy: International Training Centre of the ILO. Retrieved
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  • Kambhampati, U. S. , & Rajan, R. (2005). Does child work decrease with parental income? The luxury axiom revisited in India. European Journal of Development Research , 17 (4), 649–680.
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  • Matsuno, A. , & Blagbrough, J. (2006). Child domestic labor in South-East and East Asia: emerging good practices to combat it . Bangkok: ILO.
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  • Mwamadi, N. , & Seiffert, B. (2012). Reducing child labor in agriculture through good agricultural practices: FAO experiences . National Conference on Eliminating Child Labor in Agriculture. Lilongwe, Malawi: FAO
  • Naidu, U. S. (1985). Child labor and health: Problems and prospects . Bombay, India: Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
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  • Phlainoi, N. (2002). Thailand: Child domestic workers: A rapid assessment (23 ed.). Geneva, Switzerland: ILO.
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Further Reading

  • Child Labour . (2013, March). Ministry of labour and employment, Government of India . Retrieved from
  • Childline Kenya and National Child Helpline 116 . (2013, March). Retrieved from
  • Facts of Child Labor . (2010). International Labor Organization . Retrieved from
  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) . (1995). The effects of HIV/AIDS on farming systems in Eastern Africa (p. 1). Rome, Italy: Author.
  • International Labor Organization (ILO) . (1999). Targeting the intolerable: A new international convention to eliminate the worst forms of child labour . Geneva, Switzerland: Author.
  • International Labor Organization (ILO) . (2005). A global alliance against forced labor . Report of the Director‐General, International Labor Conference, 93rd Session. Geneva, Switzerland: Author.
  • International Labor Organization (ILO) . (2011). Stopping forced labor—Global report under the follow-up to the ILO declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work . Geneva, Switzerland: Author.
  • International Labor Organization (ILO) Bureau for Workers’ Activities . (2003, September). Decent work in agriculture . Background Paper for the International Workers’ Symposium on Decent Work in Agriculture (pp. 22–23). Geneva, Switzerland.
  • International Labor Organization (ILO) & IPEC COMAGRI Project . (2004). Towards combating child labor in commercial agriculture a training guide for district child labor committees . Nairobi, Kenya: Author.
  • IPEC . (1996). Child labor: Targeting the intolerable . Geneva, Switzerland: ILO.
  • IPEC . (2004). Helping hands or shackled lives? Understanding child domestic labor and response to it . Geneva, Switzerland: ILO.
  • IPEC & ILO Safe Work . (2005). Law and practice report on the health and safety aspects of ILO convention No. 182 in preparation for in ILO tripartite meeting of experts on hazardous child labor . Geneva, Switzerland: ILO.
  • Pratham :
  • Teach for India . Retrieved from
  • The Concerned for Working Children . Children’s union:
  • UNICEF . (2009, September). Progress for children: A report card on child protection , (No. 8, p. 20). New York, NY: Author.
  • U.S. Department of Labor . (1995). By the sweat and toil of children, Volume II; The use of child labor in US agricultural imports and forced and bonded child labor. A report to the committee on appropriations . Washington DC: Author.
  • U.S. GPO . (1999). Convention (no. 182) for Elimination of the worst forms of child labor: Message from the President of the United States transmitting convention (no. 182) concerning the prohibition and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor . Washington, DC: Author.
  • Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA) :

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  • v.27(1); Jan-Jun 2018

Challenges and perspectives of child labor

Amir radfar.

College of Graduate Health Studies, A.T. Still University, Mesa, Arizona, USA

Seyed Ahmad Ahmadi Asgharzadeh

1 Faculty of Medicine, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran

Fernando Quesada

2 Department of Medicine, Universidad de El Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador

Irina Filip

3 Department of Psychiatry, Kaiser Permanente, Fontana, California, USA

Child labor is one of the oldest problems in our society and still an ongoing issue. During the time, child labor evolved from working in agriculture or small handicraft workshops to being forced into work in factories in the urban setting as a result of the industrial revolution. Children were very profitable assets since their pay was very low, were less likely to strike, and were easy to be manipulated. Socioeconomic disparities and lack of access to education are among others contributing to the child labor. Religious and cultural beliefs can be misguiding and concealing in delineating the limits of child labor. Child labor prevents physical, intellectual, and emotional development of children. To date, there is no international agreement to fully enforced child labor. This public health issue demands a multidisciplinary approach from the education of children and their families to development of comprehensive child labor laws and regulations.


Child labor is an old problem well rooted in human history. Children were exploited to various extents during different periods of time. The problem was common in poor and developing countries. In the 1800's, child labor was part of economic life and industrial growth. Children less than 14 years old worked in agriculture, factories, mining, and as street vendors.[ 1 ] Children from poor families were expected to participate to the family income, and sometimes they worked in dangerous conditions in 12-hour shifts.[ 1 ]

In the 1900's, in England, more than a quarter of poor families lost their children to diseases and death, endangering their extra financial support.[ 1 ] Boys worked in glass factories in high heat in three shifts because the furnaces were kept fired all the time to increase productivity, while girls were forced into prostitution. In 1910, it was estimated that more than two million children in the United States were working.[ 1 ]

With the increase of education, economy, and the emergence of labor laws, child labor decreased. However, child labor is still a widespread problem in many parts of the world in developed and developing countries. With the development of agriculture, children were again forced to be employed mostly by the families rather than factories. The main cause of child labor is the lack of schools and poverty.[ 2 ]

Per International Labor Organization (ILO, 2002), in the world, there are 211 million children laborers, 73 million under 10 years of age, 126 million children work in the worst forms of child labor, and more than 8 million are kept as slaves for domestic work, in trafficking, armed conflict, prostitution, and pornography. More than 20,000 children die yearly due to work-related accidents. Nearly, one-third of the world's children work in Africa.[ 3 ] Countries such as India have made efforts to tackle the worst forms of child labor. Despite this, 56.4% of children aged 5–14 work in agriculture and 33.1% work in industry.[ 4 ] Indian children are forced into labor to pay family debt. They work sometimes in hazardous environments, being forced into commercial sexual exploitation, human trafficking, or forcibly recruited or kidnapped to be part of terrorist groups.[ 4 ]

Child labor is morally and ethically unacceptable. United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) was the first international body that signed in 1989 the Convention on the Rights of the Children. It is for the first time in history when children are seen as humans with rights rather than economic assets of their parents. Child labor was defined as labor that harms the health of the children and deprives them of education rights. This law does not exclude children that work for their families.


Child labor has many facets from the ethical point of view. Autonomy, beneficence, justice, nonmaleficence, privacy, and veracity are endangered during child labor.[ 5 ] Utilitarianists would support the idea of child labor as long as they are the sole providers for the family and without their income, the family would not survive and as long as the labor is voluntarily provided. The ends justify the means. Forced child labor is unethical because it is against the autonomy of the children. The consent of the working child is mostly manipulated by the parents. To give consent, a child needs to understand the situation, the consequences, and voluntarily agree to work. Children of young age, who have a less than fully competent capacity, can assent to an action by getting involved in the decision-making process. Children fall easy victims to unfair job conditions, and they do not have the power to stand-up against mistreatments.[ 6 ] The maleficence of this act has long-term physical, psychological, behavioral, and societal consequences. Even if they are lacking the competency of making informed decisions, they are considered individuals with autonomy that should be protected and safeguarded.[ 6 ]

Child labor is more common in developing countries where more than 90% of children live.[ 3 ] Child labor in developing countries affects 211 million children.[ 3 ] The continent with the highest child employment rate is Asia with 61%, followed by Africa and Latin America. Nearly 41% of the children in Africa are below 14 years old, followed by Asia with 22% and Latin America 17%.[ 3 ] India has made progress in reducing the child labor. However, more than 4 million children in India between 5 and 14 years old work more than 6 hours a day, while about 2 million children aged 5–14 work 3–6 months in a year.[ 4 ]


Cultural beliefs have an important role in encouraging child labor. In developing countries, people believe that work has a constructive effect on character building and increases skill development in children. There is a tradition in these families, where children follow the parents' footsteps and learn the job from an early age. Some cultural beliefs may contribute to the misguided concept that a girl's education is not as important as a boy's education, and therefore, girls are pushed into child labor as providers of domestic services.[ 7 ] In India, not putting a child to work means the family would not make enough income to sustain their living. Sociocultural aspects such as the cast system, discrimination, and cultural biases against girls contribute to child labor.[ 4 ]


It is generally accepted that parents have the fundamental right to educate and raise their children. Parents almost always try to act in the child's best interest at the best of their knowledge and beliefs. In doing so, they are reasonably motivated by their intellectual growth, social development, and at times by spiritual salvation. Oftentimes, parents seek guidance in religion to shape the upbringing of their children and to enhance their progress. Hard work is among others, an important religious value to instill from a young age.

Krolikowski found that Christian children were the least likely to work, while Muslim children, children with no religion, and children affiliated with a traditional African religion were more likely to work than Christians.[ 8 ] The 40% higher incidence of child labor among Indian Muslims compared with Indian Hindus is due perhaps to the impoverishment of Muslim community.[ 4 ] Amish people's life is also regulated by religious values. They believe that work and faith bring people closer to God.[ 9 ] Amish children are initiated from childhood into apprenticeship to learn the trade, and beyond eighth grade, they have to provide like an adult for the community. Education of children beyond eighth grade is considered a threat to the community values. The U. S. labor laws forbid children less than 16 years of age to work in hazardous places such as sawmill or woodworking. However, in 2004 an exception was made by the United States Department of Labor, who approved an amendment that allows Amish children between 14 and 18 years old to work.[ 10 ]


Child labor is rooted in poverty, income insecurity, social injustice, lack of public services, and lack of political will.[ 7 ] Working children are deprived from a proper physical and mental development. The millennium development goals (MDGs), issued in 2001 to implement the Millennium Declaration, set up commitments for poverty reduction, education, and women's empowerment. Persistence of poverty is the major cause of labor. However, child labor also causes poverty because it deprives the children from education and from a normal physical and mental development hampering a prosperous life as adults. The first MDG in addressing poverty is the elimination of child labor.[ 11 ]

The International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) was created by ILO in 1992 to progressively eliminate child labor. The priority addresses the worst forms of child labor such as slavery, prostitution, drug trafficking, and recruitment of children in armed conflicts.[ 12 ] IPEC is working with stakeholders from many countries to increase strengths and promote the fight against child labor. IPEC engage with multiple organizations, international and governmental bodies, community-based organizations, religious groups, private plural form businesses, children and their families.

Policy reform was promoted through country-based programs. The capacity building of institutions has been increased to better understand the obstacles and increase the ability of obtaining sustainable measures. These measures were meant to decrease child labor and bring children back in schools. In all these processes, statistical data were collected at the worldwide level, methodologies were set in place, and guidelines were created.

The Child Labor Platform was created as a business-led initiative by ILO in 2012, to identify the obstacles of the implementation of ILO conventions at the community level and to come up with solutions. This platform is a win-win situation for all parties involved: stakeholders as well children and their families. This platform offers training, research, and specialized tools to member companies, so they can carry out activities against child labor. Eliminating child labor is part of the corporates' social responsibility in line with their values and is what the society expects from them. This platform provides information how to get involved and how to find businesses that work collaboratively with the communities to solve the problem. Training and knowledge is a real value added for companies.[ 12 ] The Indian Government implemented a national project deemed to assist population to eradicate child labor, and set in place enforcements of criminal and labor law.[ 4 ]


Despite all these international and national measures against child labor, there are arguments in favor of child labor. Some argue that poor families would be even poorer without the supplemental financial contribution of children. Lack of money will deprive them of the basic needs of food and shelter which will decrease their survival rate. In addition, an increase in poverty would make children even more susceptible to exploitation.

The supporters of these ideas argue that the benefit of creating a safe workplace and allowing children to work is helpful in certain situations. They also emphasize that child work is not child labor as long as it does not interfere with schooling and children have safe workplace conditions with a limited number of hours per day.[ 13 ]


The stakeholders most directly affected are the children and their families. Children are working at the expense of their education and normal mental development. Education is important not only for the intellectual development but also for the empowerment and acquisition of new skills for adult life. The health of children is endangered by work in hazardous conditions, abuse, exhaustion, malnutrition, or exposure to toxic materials. The psychological harm leads to behavioral problems later on in life.[ 14 ]

Despite the implementation of laws and measurements at the international level, child labor still persists, and it is caused by the same factors as 100 years ago. There is a need to address poverty and access to education. To date, there is no international agreement to define child labor. Every country has different laws and regulations regarding the minimum age for starting working based on the type of labor. The lack of international consensus on child labor makes the limits of child labor very unclear.[ 15 ]

Therefore, it is mandatory to create international policies that adopt a holistic approach to free quality education for all children, including labor children from poor families. Education should be continued beyond the primary school level and should be done in a formal setting. Studies show that nonformal education is a necessary but not a sufficient prerequisite for permanently withdrawing children from work.[ 15 ] The public educational system should be expanded to accommodate laborer children who still do not have access to school. More schools should be built, more teachers should be trained, and more educational materials should be available. A special attention should be given to children living in exceptional geographical conditions and mobility should be provided at the cost of the community. Children who dropped out of school should receive adequate guidance and support, and a smooth reentry should be facilitated. The development of schools in the rural areas would decrease the load of children in urban schools. This will allow parents to accommodate children's needs without having to migrate in big cities.

Another phenomenon that should be addressed is the social exclusion. Children engaged in the worst forms of child labor come from the lowest strata of the society. International Labor Organization launched a project on Indigen and tribal people, who are the most targeted by social exclusion. This project promotes their rights and encourages building capacity among their community.[ 15 ] Proper enforcement of child labor policies and the focus on education can break the cycle of poverty that drives the children into labor.

Child labor is a public health issue with negative outcomes that demands special attention. A multidisciplinary approach is needed to tackle child labor issues. Per ILO, poverty is a major single cause behind child labor. Lack of affordable schools and affordable education is another major factor to force children to work. Certain cultural beliefs rationalize this practice and encourage child labor as character building and skill development for children. Some cultural traditions encourage child labor as footsteps to their parents' jobs. Socioeconomic disparities, poor governance, and poor implementation of international agreements are among major causes of child labor. Macroeconomic factors also encourage child labor by the growth of low pay informal economy. Child labor prevents the normal well-being including physical, intellectual, and emotional psychosocial development of children. This public health issue cannot be eliminated by only enforcement of child labor laws and regulations. Any comprehensive policies should engulf a holistic approach on the education of children and their families, investment in early childhood development programs, establishing public education task forces in rural areas, implementing policies with focus on increasing adult wages, and discouraging consumers to buy products made by forced child labor. As such, ethical practice requires protection of all rights of children and protective policies and procedures which support the provisions of ILO's standards.

Financial support and sponsorship

Conflicts of interest.

There are no conflicts of interest.


The authors wish to thank the University Writing Center at A.T. Still University for assistance with this manuscript.

Report Offers Roadmap to Curbing Child Labor Violations

NYU Wagner Labor Initiative recommends an array of 'feasible' policy changes for states to consider.

A new report from the NYU Wagner Labor Initiative and not-for-profit Economic Policy Institute provides an array of state-level policy prescriptions to deter growing violations of child labor laws.

“State lawmakers can have a tremendous impact on protecting children and stopping child labor violations,” said Terri Gerstein, director of the NYU Wagner Labor Initiative and author of the report—published today (Feb. 27). “Policymakers should develop a package of measures that will increase the likelihood of detection, deter violations by creating genuinely meaningful consequences, and help support children who have been victims.”  

Amid a significant increase in child labor violations nationally based on federal and state data, the report—titled “ Policies for states and localities to fight oppressive child labor ”—recommends increasing funding for enforcement and increasing civil and criminal penalties for violations—two critical prescriptions often put forward by advocates.

The report also presents less-frequently highlighted avenues for preventing and addressing violations, all drawing on existing precedents within federal, state, or local employment laws—demonstrating their feasibility. Many are also low-cost or likely revenue neutral. These recommendations include: 

●      Blocking businesses with widespread or unremedied child labor violations (directly or in supply chains) from becoming government contractors;

●      Creating easier methods to hold lead corporations accountable, instead of allowing them to deflect responsibility to subcontractors and staffing agencies;

●      Creating damages or restitution for child labor victims, to provide redress for them and overcome obstacles to reporting violations;

●      Creating a whistleblower or private right of action for child labor violations, to increase detection of violations;

●      Changing workers’ compensation laws to allow damages lawsuits against employers when minors are injured or killed on the job while assigned to work that violates child labor laws;

●      Allowing enforcers to stop production or distribution of products made with illegal child labor, through stop work orders or state-level “hot goods” provisions;

●      Requiring public disclosure so that consumers are informed of company child labor violations;

●      Adding workers’ rights education to public high school curricula.

While the policy recommendations are targeted particularly toward legislators at the state level, many are relevant for federal and local officials as well.

A webinar in conjunction with the report will be held on Monday, March 4, at 3:00 p.m. (ET). Hosted by the NYU Wagner Labor Initiative and EPI/EARN Network, and moderated by author and former New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse, the webinar will provide policymakers and advocates with concrete ideas for policies to deter child labor violations. To attend, please register here .

Gerstein is available for interview through the NYU press officer listed with this news release.

About the Economic Policy Institute:

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions. EPI believes every working person deserves a good job with fair pay, affordable health care, and retirement security. To achieve this goal, EPI conducts research and analysis on the economic status of working America. EPI proposes public policies that protect and improve the economic conditions of low- and middle-income workers and assesses policies with respect to how they affect those workers.

About NYU Wagner:

The NYU Wagner Labor Initiative at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service explores, advocates for, and accelerates the often-untapped potential of government in safeguarding and advancing workers' rights. The Labor Initiative helps government work for workers, by serving as a hub of analysis, research, and implementation guidance, as well as idea generation and dissemination, related to the role of government in advancing and protecting workers’ rights.

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Child Labour – Sociological perspectives and Analysis

Relevance: Sociology: Industrialization and Urbanisation in India:  Informal sector, child labour. & G.S paper I: Society and social issues


Child Labour is a harsh reality and unavoidable in the present scenario of social and economic realities. Child Labour is not a new problem. It is a age old problem and it is perceived as a social evil in present situation.

The Encyclopedia of social sciences (1959) defines child labour as “When the business of wage earning or of participation in work, conflicts directly or indirectly with the business of growth and education of children the result is child labour. The child labour is essentially a development problem. It is prevalent in all the developing countries.

The problem of child labour is an universal phenomenon. It is in existence in one form or another since historic times. However it is perverted as a social problem. The child labour problem is significantly acute in the developing countries than in the developed nation with the increasing rate of industrialization and modernization. The incidence of child labour in all the developing countries has been growing at an alarming rate.

The child labour concept leads to confusion as it is guided by various individual considerations. So a standard has to be accepted to determine an age range for defining a child labour is one of the oldest profession of the world and has remained as the most neglected part of population for the last few centuries.

In mid 20th century social references Jurists began to bring reforms against such neglected and exploited class of human labour consideration their tender age. Child labour is a ubiquitous and persistent problem of our country and has been a given subject of grave for administrators, policy makers, academicians and jurists for the last couple of years.

The problem of child labour has been tackled to certain extent through legislation and countries of the world have enacted certain laws and regulations restricting the employment of children below certain age and specifying the conditions restricting the employment of children below certain age and specifying the conditions allowing minors to work in certain profession.

Child labour refers to the employment of children in a cartable occupations or national contribution to the income of the family. It is both an economic and social evil in that it leads to serious health hazards and denies them opportunity for physical and mental development.

Child labour

The term child labour is commonly interpreted in two different ways, first as an economic evil and secondly as a social evil. In the first context it signifies employment of children to earn the livelihood for them or for their family. In the second context it is said to restrict on children obstructing them to develop academically.

Definition of child labour in terms of age or which reference to occupation will not be adequate it will be necessary to examine the social situation which makes the children work (Mohisin’ 1980: 27-2). The child labour could be defined as an activity of earning of supporting self or family which directly or indirectly comes into conflict with the opportunities for further physical and mental growth of the child. In India the term child labour refers to those engaged in earnable work.

Child labour includes working in all forms of non industrial occupations which are injurious to their physical, mental, moral and social development. “Any work by children that interfere with their full physical development, their opportunities for a desirable minimum of education or their needed recreation”. Home folks (1979), chairman US National Child Labour Committee.

The term child labour basically means the children below the age of fifteen who are employed for hire or reward in occupation that are injurious to their physical, mental, intellectual, moral and social development due to depression and exploitation internet in that employment (Patel, B.R; 1988:2) , hence the term child labour is not applicable to children working in all for an hour or two to earn their pocket money or assisting their parents in house work.

According to child labour prohibition and regulation act of 1986 employment of children up to the age of 14 years and in the case of hazardous employment up to 18 years is define as child labour and is banned. Poverty relating to child labour: Poverty can be characterized as a state of deprivation, dependence and degradation below physically and socio culturally acceptable standards. It associated with a level of living below a set of norms held necessary for human beings.

These norms are related to the basic physiological need like caloric intake, clothing, shelter, drinking water, medical aid and education etc it also includes some special needs like participation, human dignity, self esteem and status etc.

The issue of poor/poverty has different dimensions. The poorest of poor are beggars, pavement dwellers, sick people etc. The ducted and politically conscious poor vary from the socially isolated poor in villages. We may find various categories of poor such as bonded labourers, landless labours, and manual labourers with a little land. Scheduled castes, backward castes and upper castes, poor differ among themselves on different social and psychological dimensions.

The concept of poverty from a different angle. He was with the opinion that a family with more dependent children is poor. But when the children become independent and earners the income of the family increases and naturally the family comes out of poverty.

The family even with substantial income becomes poor because of its poor financial management. Hence all these factors may have their influence in different contexts whether directly for the incidence of child labour. Child Abuse: – Child labour is one form of child abuse.

Children are abused by parents, employers, anti social elements etc. by subjecting them in unfavorable living and working conditions. Parents do not treat their children properly due to some economic, social and psychological constraints.

Employers do not treat the child labour properly as they want extract more work with low wages.

Child labour

Theories to study child abuse:-

1) Psychiatric theory: The theory gives the explanation of child abuse in term of deviant parental behavior. The school underlying parents emotional disturbance in abuse come to be known a psychiatric problems.

2) Socio Cultural Theories : – The sociological theory is based on the assumption that external forces with in the society are responsible for child abuse. Socio cultural theories may be divided in to three categories viz.,

3) Socio situational theory: – This theory says that normal parents may be sociolised in to abusive child care practice through the interaction of cultural community and families influences. Factors such as low income, unemployment, isolation, conflict with spouse and other members of the family etc. lead to violence against children at home.

4) Social habitability theory: – According to this theory the nature of child maltreatment depends up on the environmental circumstances in which the individual and family developed.

5) Exchange on social control theory: – This theory says that parents use violence against their children because the children don’t react and hit back. Certain types of children like handicapped, ill, ugly , demanding, and premature children are at great risk of being abused by there parents.

6) Resource theory: – According to this the use of force or threat by an individual depends up on the extent to which he can demand the resources – social, personal and economic.

7) Social Learning Theory: – This theory holds that people learned to be violent when they grown up in violent homes and violent environment. A history of abuse and violence in the family does increase in the risk that an individual will be violent as an adult.

The Problems Child Labour Causes For People - Love Not Labour Org.


Traditionally poverty is considered as the major cause of child labour contrary to this belief many studies established the fact that child labour also comes from improvised families.

In some case exploited child labour perpetuates poverty. Even though child labour is generally considered as a problem of the enveloping world. The reality is children of different ages routinely work in different forms in all industrialized countries.

Child Labour is considered as the result of the poor having more number of children. The reality is more than the number of children it is the parental discretions about the child is priorities and lack of faith in the formal education is causing the child labour.

Many parents believe that working children will be equipped with skills for the future but practically. The task allotted to child workers is simple and repetitive such as cleaning, serving helping and minor repairing.

Skills are a misnomer when related to the toil and drudgery children engage in many things that children prefer to work. In many cases lack of interest in schooling is making the children to prefer for work, because of their inability to conceive of an alternative.

Many believe that there is nothing wrong in allowing children to work in non hazardous occupations. Even jobs which are not inherently hazardous become hazardous for children, when they are made to do the job for long periods defying their rights of recreation leisure and play. There is a general believe that child labour is inevitable in certain fields.

But the fact is that child workers may be replaced with adults which naturally enhance the cost of a product or service. This consequence is not acceptable to all concerned.


To any economy the child can be natural resources. The child can be compared with a bud. It is the responsibility of any society to provide a necessary atmosphere and opportunities to transform the bud into a blossom flower. However it is most unfortunate and heart burning to listen that millions of children in the age of 5 to 14 in many Asian, African and Laten American countries are attending to work.

In fact the statistics relating to magnitude of incidence of child labour are not exact, in view of the fact that legislation is not controlling the unorganized sector in various countries. The estimates are only an indication of growing child labour issue.

The reasons for child labour are many. In some cases it is the social backwardness, but in many cases more than economic reasons, lack of interest in formal schooling and child development programmes pushing the children to work.

For example certain communities in the society treat begging as their profession. Inspite of having significant properties they continue begging, which may be called as culture poverty.

On the same lines the problem of child labour is wide spread among low income groups who are also educationally backward. Many people from upper castes are in a better position in social and educational aspects in spite of their economic backwardness.

High caste parents show significantly greater interest in the educational progress. A long percentage of working children belong to Hindu religion and the percentage of backward classes and scheduled castes children among them is significant.

The main reason for the low proportion of scheduled castes child workers more in agricultural sectors. It is generally observed that there is religious conversion from Hinduism to Christianity among the scheduled castes in rural areas.

Child Labour In India

The child is a natural resource for an economy. It is the responsibility of the society to provide necessary atmosphere and opportunities to transform children into potential human resource. They are the future makers of the nation. Childhood is understood to cover the period of the first 14 years in India. (Article 24 of Indian Constitution). The most important cause of widespread child labour is the chronic poverty which forces the parents to send their children to seek employment parents are not only incapable of investing in their children’s development due to poverty but also reluctant to support them and went them to starting earning as soon as possible.

The tendency of the employers to attract children for economic reasons is also resulting in child labour problem. Limited success in providing compulsory education in all children below the age group of 14 as stipulated in the directive principals of state policy is another important factor.

Families migrated from rural areas to urban centers for livelihood could not bear the cost of living and all the family members have to work and this caused for the child labour illiteracy and ignorance of parents and large size of the family is forcing child to work.

Lack of schooling facilities and high rate of school dropouts is also leading to child labour. Various theories of poverty gave explanation to the incidence of the child labour in different sectors caused by cultural of poverty and economic necessities.

Social and cultural deprivation in some communities is also forcing the children to go for work. Lack of family harmony and child abuse is making the to discontinue schooling and start working for livelihood.

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America is divided over major efforts to rewrite child labor laws

At least 16 states have one or more bills to weaken their child labor laws, while 13 are seeking to strengthen them.

assignment of child labour

As child labor violations soar across the country , dozens of states are ramping up efforts to update child labor laws — with widespread efforts to weaken laws, but some to bolster them as well.

The push for changes to those laws arrives as employers — particularly in restaurants and other service-providing industries — have grappled with labor shortages since the beginning of the pandemic, and hired more teenagers , whose wages are typically lower than adults’.

Labor experts attribute the spike in child labor violations — which, a Post analysis shows, have tripled in 10 years — to a tight labor market that has prompted employers to hire more teens, as well as migrant children arriving from Latin America. In 2023, teens ages 16 to 19 were working or looking for work at the highest annual rate since 2009, according to Labor Department data.

That has led to the largest effort in years to change the patchwork of state laws that regulate child labor, with major implications for the country’s youths and the labor market. At least 16 states have one or more bills that would weaken their child labor laws and at least 13 are seeking to strengthen them, according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute and other sources. Among these states, there are 43 bill proposals.

Since 2022, 14 states have passed or enacted new child labor laws.

Federal law forbids all minors from working in jobs deemed hazardous, including those in manufacturing, roofing, meatpacking and demolition. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds are not allowed to work past 7 p.m. on school nights or 9 p.m. on weekends.

Most states have laws that are tougher than federal rules, although an effort is underway, led by Republican lawmakers, to undo those restrictions, which is supported by restaurant associations, liquor associations and home builders associations.

A Florida-based lobbying group, the Foundation for Government Accountability, which has fought to promote conservative interests such as restricting access to anti-poverty programs, drafted or lobbied for recent bills to strip child labor protections in at least six states.

Among them is Indiana’s new law enacted in March, repealing all work-hour restrictions for 16- and 17-year-olds, who previously couldn’t work past 10 p.m. or before 6 a.m. on school days. The law also extends legal work hours for 14- and 15-year-olds.

Indiana legislators sparred over the bill, with state Sen. Mike Gaskill (R) saying at a hearing in March, “Do not for a second think that this is about the evil employers trying to manipulate and take advantage of kids.” But state Sen. Andrea Hunley (D) called the bill an “irresponsible and dystopian” way of “responding to our workforce shortage.”

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed into law changes that allow 16- and 17-year-olds to work seven days in a row . It also removes all hour restrictions for teens in online school or home-school, effectively permitting them to work overnight shifts.

Some states have reported soaring numbers of child-labor violations over the past year, with investigators uncovering violations in fast-food restaurants , but also in dangerous jobs in meatpacking , manufacturing and construction, where federal law prohibits minors from working. The Labor Department alleged in a lawsuit in February that a sanitation company, Fayette Janitorial Service, employed children as young as 13 to clean head splitters and other kill-floor equipment at slaughterhouses on overnight shifts in Virginia and Iowa.

Despite such findings, an Iowa law signed last year by Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) allows minors in that state to work in jobs previously deemed too hazardous, including in industrial laundries, light manufacturing, demolition, roofing and excavation, but not slaughterhouses. Separately, West Virginia enacted a law this month that allows 16- and 17-year-olds to work some roofing jobs as part of an apprenticeship program.

Six more states are evaluating bills to lift restrictions preventing minors from working jobs considered dangerous. A Georgia bill would allow 14-year-olds to work in landscaping on factory grounds and other prohibited work sites. Florida’s legislature has passed a law, drafted by the state’s construction industry association, that would allow teens to work certain jobs in residential construction. It is awaiting approval from DeSantis.

Carol Bowen, chief lobbyist for the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida, testified in February that the state “has one of the largest skilled-work shortages in recent history” and that the construction industry needs to identify the “next generation.”

Bowen said the bill limits work for 16- and 17-year-olds to home construction projects, adding that teens wouldn’t be able to work on anything higher than six feet.

In Kentucky, the House has passed a bill that prevents the state from having child labor laws that are stricter than federal protections, in effect removing all limitations on when 16- and 17-year-olds can work.

Meanwhile, Alabama, West Virginia, Missouri and Georgia are considering bills this year that would eliminate work permit requirements for minors, verifying age or parental or school permission to work. Most states require these permits. Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) signed a similar bill into law last year.

Republican lawmakers often say they are trying to increase opportunities or bring requirements in line with federal standards when they push to loosen child labor laws. They say that lowering restrictions helps employers fill labor shortages, while improving teenagers’ work ethic and reducing their screen time. Another common refrain is that permitting later work hours allows high school students opportunities similar to those for varsity athletes whose games often go later than state law allows teens to work.

“These are youth workers that are driving automobiles. They are not children,” said state Rep. Linda Chaney (R), sponsor of the Florida bill expanding work hours for 16- and 17-year-olds, during a hearing in December.

Indiana state Sen. Andy Zay (R), who supported the state’s new law extending work hours for 14- and 15-year-olds, told The Washington Post that as a father of five children, including a son who plays high school basketball, he felt saddened by criticism that teens could be exploited into working later hours under this law.

“I don’t see that, and I don’t feel that. And certainly they would have the freedom to move on,” Zay said.

But the spike in child labor violations and the recent deaths of minors illegally employed in dangerous jobs have also prompted a push by labor advocates to strengthen state laws.

The Virginia legislature unanimously approved a bill in recent weeks that would increase employer penalties for child labor violations from $1,000 to $2,500 for routine violations. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) approved the measure Wednesday.

The bill’s sponsor, Del. Holly M. Seibold (D-Fairfax), told The Post that she was “shocked and horrified” to read recently about poultry plants in Virginia illegally employing migrant children and wrote legislation to raise the penalties.

Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado also are pushing to raise employer penalties for child labor violations, with lawmakers calling them outdated and not substantial enough to deter employers from breaking the law. For example, Iowa fines employers $2,500 for a serious but nonfatal injury of a minor illegally working in a hazardous industry and $500 if there is no serious injury. The new bill proposes an additional $5,000 penalty for an injury that leads to a workers’ compensation case.

Terri Gerstein, director of the Wagner Labor Initiative at New York University, said that the focus on increasing penalties is “good, but, alone, is not good enough,” given that many states have very minimal resources dedicated to enforcing laws.

This year, Colorado legislators have introduced the strongest package to crack down on employers that break child labor laws. The legislation would raise fines for violations and deposit them into a fund for enforcement. Lawmakers are also seeking to make information on companies that violate child labor laws publicly available; in many states, such information is off-limits to the public. Colorado would also legally protect parents of minors who are employed illegally, as some have faced criminal charges for child abuse.

Colorado state Rep. Sheila Lieder (D), who introduced the bill, told The Post that Colorado’s child labor laws aren’t punitive enough to dissuade employers from violating the laws, with just a $20 penalty per offense.

“The fine in Colorado is like a couple cups of coffee at a brand-name coffee store,” Lieder said. “I was just, like, there’s something more that has to be done.”

Jacqueline Aguilar, a 21-year-old college student in Alamosa, Colo., who supports the bill, worked in the lettuce and potato fields on Colorado’s Eastern Plains from the time she was 13, alongside her immigrant parents, to buy school clothes.

“Laws have to be stricter because a lot of people don’t report” violations, said Aguilar, who worked 12-hour shifts in the fields starting at 4:30 a.m. growing up. She said she had no knowledge of her labor rights at the time. “Once I started getting older and my mom became disabled because of the job, it changed my perspective on children working.”

In Kentucky, the House-passed bill that prevents the state from enacting child labor laws stricter than federal protections but does not also repeal requirements for meal and rest breaks for minors. A previous version said that the bill would repeal breaks for minors.

assignment of child labour

Essay on Child Labour for Students and Children

500+ words essay on child labour.

Child labour is a term you might have heard about in news or movies. It refers to a crime where children are forced to work from a very early age. It is like expecting kids to perform responsibilities like working and fending for themselves. There are certain policies which have put restrictions and limitations on children working.

Essay on Child Labour

The average age for a child to be appropriate to work is considered fifteen years and more. Children falling below this age limit won’t be allowed to indulge in any type of work forcefully. Why is that so? Because child labour takes away the kids opportunity of having a normal childhood, a proper education , and physical and mental well-being. In some countries, it is illegal but still, it’s a far way from being completely eradicated.

Causes of Child Labour

Child Labour happens due to a number of reasons. While some of the reasons may be common in some countries, there are some reasons which are specific in particular areas and regions. When we look at what is causing child labour, we will be able to fight it better.

Firstly, it happens in countries that have a lot of poverty and unemployment . When the families won’t have enough earning, they put the children of the family to work so they can have enough money to survive. Similarly, if the adults of the family are unemployed, the younger ones have to work in their place.

assignment of child labour

Moreover, when people do not have access to the education they will ultimately put their children to work. The uneducated only care about a short term result which is why they put children to work so they can survive their present.

Furthermore, the money-saving attitude of various industries is a major cause of child labour. They hire children because they pay them lesser for the same work as an adult. As children work more than adults and also at fewer wages, they prefer children. They can easily influence and manipulate them. They only see their profit and this is why they engage children in factories.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Eradication of Child Labour

If we wish to eradicate child labour, we need to formulate some very effective solutions which will save our children. It will also enhance the future of any country dealing with these social issues . To begin with, one can create a number of unions that solely work to prevent child labour. It should help the children indulging in this work and punishing those who make them do it.

Furthermore, we need to keep the parents in the loop so as to teach them the importance of education. If we make education free and the people aware, we will be able to educate more and more children who won’t have to do child labour. Moreover, making people aware of the harmful consequences of child labour is a must.

In addition, family control measures must also be taken. This will reduce the family’s burden so when you have lesser mouths to feed, the parents will be enough to work for them, instead of the children. In fact, every family must be promised a minimum income by the government to survive.

In short, the government and people must come together. Employment opportunities must be given to people in abundance so they can earn their livelihood instead of putting their kids to work. The children are the future of our country; we cannot expect them to maintain the economic conditions of their families instead of having a normal childhood.

{ “@context”: “”, “@type”: “FAQPage”, “mainEntity”: [{ “@type”: “Question”, “name”: “What causes child labour?”, “acceptedAnswer”: { “@type”: “Answer”, “text”: “Child Labour is caused by many factors. The most important one is poverty and illiteracy. When people barely make ends meet, they put their children to work so they can have food two times a day.”} }, { “@type”: “Question”, “name”: “How can we prevent child labour?”, “acceptedAnswer”: { “@type”: “Answer”, “text”:”Strict measures can prevent child labour. Unions should be made to monitor the activities of child labour. Education must be made free to enroll more and more kids in school. We must also abolish child trafficking completely to save the children.”} }] }

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Child Labor Essay: Thesis, Examples, & Writing Guide [2024]

Children have always been apprentices and servants all over human history. However, the Industrial Revolution increased the use of child labor in the world. It became a global problem that is relevant even today when such employment is illegal.

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The principal causes of child labor are as follows:

  • Poverty, as kids have to work to support their families.
  • Lack of access to education or its low quality.
  • Culture, as some countries encourage kids to earn their pocket money.
  • The growth of a low-paying informal economy.

The information you will find in this article can help you write a good child labor essay without any problems. Our professional writers gathered facts and tips that can help you with a paper on this topic. Nail your essay writing about child labor: thesis statement, introduction, and conclusion.

  • 📜 How to Write
  • ❓ Brief History
  • ⚖️ Laws Today

🔗 References

📜 child labor argument essay: how to write & example.

Let’s start with tips on writing a child labor essay. Its structure depends on the type of your assignment : argumentative, persuasive, for and against child labor essay.

There’s nothing new in the essay structure: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. However, you should pay close attention to your thesis statement about child labor as the subject is quite delicate.

Below you’ll find the essential information on what to write in your assignment:

Just in 1 hour! We will write you a plagiarism-free paper in hardly more than 1 hour

  • The introduction may present the general meaning of the term “child labor.” In this part of your child labor essay, you may say that child labor means the work of children that aims at exploiting and harming them.
  • The thesis statement should reveal your position on the issue. It’s the central idea of the paper. It may sound like “Not every kind of child labor is supposed to be exploitive.” Think about the phrasing of your child labor thesis statement.
  • What are the reasons for the issue today? In this part of your essay, you have to present why child labor is widely-spread nowadays. Are there some positive factors for it?
  • What jobs can be done by children? Give a list of possible careers, and present short descriptions of the duties children have to fulfill. Explain your job choice.
  • How can we reduce child labor? Elaborate on why taking care of our young generation is crucial. What would you offer to reduce child labor?
  • The conclusion of child labor essays should summarize everything that was said in the body. It should present the final idea that you have come up with while conducting your research. Make a point by approving or disapproving your thesis statement about child labor. Don’t repeat the central idea, but rather restate it and develop. If you’re not sure about what to write, you can use a summary machine to help you out.

We hope that now you have some ideas on what to write about. Nevertheless, if you still need some help with writing , you can check the child labor essay example:

For more facts to use in your essay, see the following sections.

❓ Brief History of Child Labor

The involvement of child labor became increasingly popular during the Industrial revolution . The factories ensured the growth in the overall standard of living, a sharp drop in the mortality rate in cities, including children. It caused unprecedented population growth. And with the help of machines, even physically weak people could work.

Operating power-driven machines did not require high qualification, but the child’s small height often was a better option. They could be installed quite closely to save the factory space. Some children worked in coal mines, where adults couldn’t fit.

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Thus, child labor has become an indispensable and integral part of the economy.

Even special children’s professions were formed. For example, there were scavengers and scribes in the cotton factories:

  • Scavengers had to be small and fast. They crawled all day under the spinning looms, collected the fallen pieces of cotton, inhaled cotton dust, and dodged the working mechanisms.
  • Scribes walked around the shop and sorted the threads that ran along with the machine. It was estimated that the child was passing about 24 miles during the working day.

Needless to say, that child labor conditions were far from perfect. The situation began to change in the early 1900s during social reform in the United States. The restricting child labor laws were passed as part of the progressive movement.

During the Great Depression , child labor issues raised again because of lacking open jobs to adults. The National Industrial Recovery Act codes significantly reduced child labor in America.

What about today?

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Child labor today in wealthy countries accounts for 1% of the workforce. At the same time, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO) , the highest ranges of working children are in Africa (32%), Asia (22%), and Latin America (17%).

🧒 Causes of Child Labor

Speaking about child labor, you should understand the factors that lead to children employment:

  • Poverty . According to ILO, it is one of the significant causes of child labor. Children have to work to support their families. Sometimes up to 40% of a household income is the child’s salary.
  • Lack of access to education . An absence of school or its distant location and low quality of education affect children around the globe. Unaffordable tuition in local schools drives children to harmful labor.
  • Culture . In some developing countries, it is common for children and adolescents to help their parents in a family business. They earn their pocket money because people believe such work allows children to develop skills and build character. Other cultures value girls’ education less than boys, so girls are pushed to provide domestic services.
  • The growth of a low-paying informal economy. This macroeconomic factor explains acceptability and demand for child labor.

⚖️ Child Labor Laws Today

Don’t forget to mention current labor laws and regulations in your child labor assignment. You can mention slavery and human trafficking linked to the issue even today. You may refer to international laws or analyze legislative acts in different countries.

For example, the Fair Labor Standards Act determines age restrictions, jobs allowed for teenagers, and necessary paperwork.

Other acts, programs, and initiatives you should mention are:

  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention
  • Minimum Age Convention
  • Medical Examination of Young Persons (Industry) Convention
  • Australia’s and UK’s Modern Slavery Acts
  • National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020
  • International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor
  • Child Labor Deterrence Act of 1993

When writing about child laws against child labor, you may also explore the best and worst countries for children’s work conditions.

Prohibited forms of child labor.

You may also mention child labor incidents:

  • UNICEF’s report on using enslaved children in cocoa production.
  • Child labor in Africa’s cobalt, copper, and gold mines.
  • GAP, Zara, Primark, H&M’s products made with cotton, which may have been picked by children. You can also find extra information on companies that use child labor.
  • Child labor in silk weaving factories.

Child Labor Essay Examples

  • Child labor’s negative impact on human development . 
  • Child labor and social worker interventions . 
  • Child labor in the fashion industry . 
  • Child labor, its forms, and disputable issues . 
  • Child labor in Ghanaian and Bangladeshi industries . 
  • Ethics in business: child labor in the chocolate industry.  
  • Massive industrialization and modern child labor . 
  • Child labor’s role in the global economy . 
  • Samsung and child labor: business ethics case . 
  • Child labor’s role in westernization and globalization . 

Child Labor Essay Topics

  • Analyze the connection between poverty and child labor. 
  • Discuss the reasons for the high trafficking of children rates.  
  • Explain why child labor is among topical issues in the modern world.  
  • What can be done to reduce child trafficking rates?  
  • Explore the ways labor unions help to fight child labor.   
  • Describe the child labor laws around the world and evaluate their effectiveness.  
  • Analyze the cases of child exploitation in sweatshops in developing countries. 
  • Discuss the social issues connected with child labor .   
  • Examine the impact of child labor on children’s physical and mental health.  
  • The role of UNICEF in the abolition of child labor and exploitation.  
  • Child trafficking as a primary human rights issue.  
  • The absence of adequate punishment is the reason for increased child slavery rates. 
  •  Analyze if current measures to prevent child exploitation are sufficient enough.  
  • Discuss how social media platforms facilitate child trafficking .   
  • Examine the social impact of child exploitation and trafficking .  
  • Describe how the attitude towards child labor depends on the specifics of the country’s culture.  
  • Explore how Zara’s use of child labor influenced its public image.  
  • What organizations deal with commercial child exploitation prevention?  
  • What can a healthcare professional do to help the victims of child exploitation ?  
  • Analyze the urgency of creating an effective program for the recovery of child trafficking victims .  
  • Discuss the laws regulating child labor in different countries.  
  • Explain the connection between the level of education in the country and child labor rates.  
  • The role of parents in the success of child labor and exploitation prevention.  
  • Explore the history of child labor.  
  • Can labor be the way to teach children about basic life skills?  
  • The disastrous effect of child trafficking on the mental health of its victims.  
  • Discuss the problems connected with child trafficking and exploitation investigation. 
  • Examine the cases of using child soldiers in modern armed conflicts.  
  • Analyze the role of international organizations in saving child soldiers .  
  • The use of abducted children as frontline soldiers in Uganda.  
  • What can be done to overcome the issue of child soldiers in the near future?  
  • Discuss what fashion brands can do to prevent the use of child labor in overseas sweatshops .   
  • Explain why young workers are more vulnerable to exploitation compared to adult workers.  
  •  Explore the issue of child labor and exploitation in the Industrial Age .  
  • Analyze how child labor affects the education of children . 
  • Describe the business ethics of child labor.  
  • Who is responsible for the use of child labor at tea plantations?   
  • Examine the reasons for using child labor in mining in the 19 th century . 
  • Employing child labor as one of the most widespread violations of children’s rights .  
  • Discuss the motives that push children to participate in labor.  

How old were you when you got your first job? Was it hard? Share with us your experience and advice in the comments below! Send this page to those who might require help with their child labor essay.

  • Child Labor Issues and Challenges: NIH
  • Child Labor: World Vision Australia
  • Essay Structure: Harvard University
  • Child Labor: Human Rights Watch
  • Child Labor: Laws & Definition:
  • Child Labor: Our World in Data
  • History of Child Labor in the United States, Part 1: Little Children Working: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Assessment of the impact of child labour on children educational achivment

Profile image of Worku Dibu

ABSTRACT Child labour is an important aspect of social and economic reality that surrounds us although it is sometimes unnoticed. It is the severe problem of the world in general and the sub-Saharan countries like Ethiopia in particular in which children are considered an asset and means to improve livelihood of their family at the expense of their education. The attempt towards the elimination of child labor in Ethiopia is still lagging compare to the rest world. This in turn is affecting adversely the accumulation of human capital. Thus, the researcherwas intended to assess the impact of Child Labour on Children’s Educational Achievement in Ganta Afeshum Woredaand give the possible solution to overcome this problem. To realize this objective, the researcher employed qualitative approach and used in depth interview, FGD, key informant interview, personal observation data collection instruments and employed descriptive research and purposive sampling technique. The researcher analyzed the finding qualitatively through interpretation, description and summarization of the data. As the finding of the study indicates child labour is sever in rural area than urban area and also girls are more exposed for child labour than boys, children are involved in domestic and non-domestic productive activities. The attitude of communities toward child labour is also positive; they consider children as valuable asset for contributing family income. The views of households on working children arise commonly from their poor knowledge about the issue and is directed by traditional outlooks of uprooting ‘milk teeth’, that is seen as a shift from childhood to adulthood. As the finding indicates, Child labour has an impact on children’s educational achievement by making them: repeated the class, absenteeism from class, drop out, make very tired, shortage of times for study and reducing the chance to access education, beside this, as the finding indicate attitude of the communities, employers, poverty coupled with limited access to credit, health and family size as well as the abusive practices are thechallenges that hamper eliminating of child labour. Finally, as the finding indicate the local administratorstrategy of employing one sector, one children and work with NGOs, private sector and public sectors paly significant role via improving the future childhood of children, however,the involvement kebele administrator in tackling the problem is at low level, their understanding about child labour and implementing the existing legislation are poor though there are adequate law pertinent to children. Key words: Child Labour, Educational Achievement, Children

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Child labour is the serious problems of the world in general and the sub-Saharan countries like Ethiopia in particular in which children are considered as asset and means to improve their livelihoods. This resulted low human capital accumulation by making children out of schooling. Child work, and the need for earnings, is almost certainly a key factor in children not accessing school and achievement good result. Thus, the researchers were intended to assess the impact of Child Labour on Children’s Educational Achievement in Ganta Afeshum Woreda. To realize this objective, the researchers employed qualitative approach and used in depth interview, FGD, key informant interview, personal observation data collection instruments and employed descriptive research and purpose sampling technique. At the end, the researchers analyzed the finding qualitatively through interpretation, description and summarization of the data.

assignment of child labour

Deng Gatluak Riek

Nurlign Birhan


Pastoralists are among the marginalized groups of society who live in a marginalized environment and whose livelihood is exposed to the vagaries of climate and harsh environmental conditions. This study explores into impediments of pastoral children's participation into schooling and education with particular emphasis on the primary school of selected Woreda, Afar Zone. To achieve this purpose, a qualitative research method was employed. Participants of the study were selected by employing purposive sampling mainly on the basis of their roles related to schooling. Seven members of parent teacher associations, 20 teachers, 4 school principals, 14 education experts and officials, a total of 45 respondents took part in the study. Data were collected through the use of different instruments: Strutted interview, focus group discussion, and document review and observation checklist. The data obtained through these data collection instruments were analysed thematically. The steps involved were organizing and preparing data for analysis, reading through all data, coding, generating a description of the settings and people and identifying categories or themes for analysis, representing descriptions and themes in the qualitative narrative and interpretation. The study identified several cultural and economic barriers such as early marriage, lack of interest for modern education, parental level of education, mobility, child labor, poverty and finance. The results also showed that existence of both supply and demand side constraints. Problem of funding, inability to attract and retain qualified teaching staff, poorly equipped schools and community perception of modern education as a threat to pastoralist way of life were the major supply related shortcomings. The demand side limitations were identified as dispersed settlement patterns, demand for child labour, bride-price and peer pressure. Mandatory seasonal mobility, frequent conflicts and conflict induced displacement were cited as the most pronounced disenabling features.Drought and harsh weather were the driving forces of mobility. Competition over water sources and pastureland coupled with border dispute and cattle raid were identified as the long standing causes of armed conflict which in turn result in school activity disruption. Thus, based on the findings, recommendation is made to planners and policymakers so as to alleviate the observed shortcomings. Improving quality of school facilities, sensitization campaign on the benefits of education, blended mode of delivery, peace dialogue to arrest recurring conflicts, self-proof of schools about their worthiness to the local community and rethinking of teacher incentive mechanisms are some of the important propositions made in view to avert the long standing legacy of educational under representation of the Afar pastoralist communities in Ethiopia.

Eshetu Fekadu

Abstract: As is the case with other developing countries of the world, child labor is also a problem in Ethiopia. Child labor is mainly caused by poverty and the socio-cultural perspectives of society, where inhabitants require the labor of their children for household tasks and agricultural activities than sending them to school. The study was conducted to assess the general situation of child labor exploitation and children’s participation in primary education in selected primary schools at Debub Omo Zone and thereby to recommend mechanisms to alleviate the problem. This study has used both primary and secondary data sources. The methods used to collect primary data include: in depth-interview, focus group discussion, and observation. Informants were selected by purposive and available sampling techniques based on variables: age, sex, religion, education, occupation and marital status and a total of 58 informants participated in the study. Findings of the study revealed that child labor became a major problem in the study area, where it is closely associated with poverty and socio-cultural viewpoint of the society, which value children as an economic asset of their families. As a result of this, children were forced to drop their schooling or not got the chance to go to school. As the study reveals, children were expected to perform both domestic activities (such as cooking, fetching water and fire wood, caring siblings and washing) and productive activities (like cultivating, planting, weeding, harvesting, and keeping cattle and goats). The finding also indicates that child labor affects the physical, social, emotional, educational and health conditions of the working child. Therefore, it needs collaborative effort of all governmental, non-governmental and family’s effort in the fight against child labor, so as to ensure children’s school participation. Keywords: Child labor, Exploitation, Participation, Debube Omo, Zone.

Dursa Aliyi

Daniel Agena

mesay tekle

mustafe muhumed

MA thesis in educational leadership and management at jigjiga university of Ethiopia


Shoko Yamada

Getachew Demie

Berhanu Kuma

Bosha Bombe

Tone Sommerfelt , Henriette Lunde

Dawit Soge Soto

Bahre Gebru

Environment and Development Economics

Sosina Bezu

Mulatu Lerra

Anetneh Ethiopia

Berhanu Kuma , Teshome Desta , mesfine sodd , Andualem Ufo , Abrham Taddele , Ashenafi Selassie

Emebet Mulugeta

sata shiferaw

Dr. Serawit H Melkato

Dakmara Georgescu

Fitsum Aregawi

Putting Children First: new frontiers in the fight against child poverty in Africa.

Elizabeth Ngutuku

Rakeb Aberra , Fasil Mulatu Gessesse

Temesgen Thomas , Birhanie A L E M U Kebede

Hashutaw Wolebo

Michael W. Thomas

jibril babayo

Mikiyas Defabachew

Ashenafi Tirfie

Solomon Kebede


Mehari Worku

Abdu Ahmedin

Shefan Ze Axum

Tariku Tadesse

Bisrat Kassahun

furio rosati


Kristen Cheney

Damene M A T S A N A Malado

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Child Labor by Country 2024

Child labor is a controversial practice and is often illegal in many countries. It involves using children between the ages of 5 and 17 years old who are used for labor in a commercial or business setting. However, just because it is frowned upon, that doesn't mean that it isn't still a popular practice around the globe. In this article, we will take a closer look at which countries still rely heavily on child labor and how the numbers stack up among one another.

The majority of the countries that still participate in child labor practices are located in either Africa or South America . A total of 47 countries, including Ethiopia , Cameroon , Chad , Togo , Madagascar , Laos , Zambia , Nepal , Ivory Coast , Kyrgyzstan , Uzbekistan , Sudan , Fiji , Peru , Honduras , Mongolia , Bolivia , Samoa , Afghanistan , Mali , and Cambodia still use child labor regularly.

The country with the highest number of child labor workers is Ethiopia. The country has a rating of 45 with males outpacing females 51 to 39. The next country on the list is Burkina Faso . The country has a score of 42. Here, the ratio of female to male child labor workers is a little more split with males just outpacing females 44 to 40.

Cameroon, Chad, and Togo all share the next place on the list with a score of 39, each. They are also nearly evenly split between males and females with scores of 38:40 (males) 40:39 (females), and 39:38 (females). Madagascar is next on the list with a score of 37, which is divided into a ratio of 35 females to 38 males. Haiti follows that score with 36. In Haiti, the number of child labor workers screws drastically in the male direction with a ratio of 44 males to 26 females.

There are also several countries that have very low child labor numbers. Turkmenistan , even though the practice is legal in the country, currently doesn't have a record of having any child labor workers. Barbados , Trinidad and Tobago , and Sri Lanka all have ratings of 1. Georgia , Panama , Georgia , and Tunisia all have ratings of just 2.

Several countries have a rating of 3 when it comes to child labor workers, including Saint Lucia , Belize , North Macedonia , Jamaica , Albania , Ukraine , and Algeria . The countries of Turkey , South Africa , North Korea , Dominican Republic , Belarus , Costa Rica , Uruguay , Armenia , Bhutan , Suriname , and Tuvalu all have child labor rates of 4.

  • Data years: 2014-2022

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Which countries still have child labor?

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  • Child Labor - Unicef


  1. Paragraph On Child Labour 100, 150, 200, 250 to 300 Words for Kids

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    children. The prevalence of child labour in rural areas (13.9 per cent) is close to three times higher than in urban areas (4.7 per cent). • Most child labour - for boys and girls alike - continues to occur in agriculture. Seventy per cent of all children in child labour, 112 million children in total, are in agriculture. Many are

  2. Child labour

    Economic hardship exacts a toll on millions of families worldwide - and in some places, it comes at the price of a child's safety. Roughly 160 million children were subjected to child labour at the beginning of 2020, with 9 million additional children at risk due to the impact of COVID-19. This accounts for nearly 1 in 10 children worldwide.

  3. Child Labour

    By definition, child labour is a violation of both child protection and child rights. Poverty is the primary reason children are sent to work. But sadly, child labour keeps children from getting the education they need to break the cycle of poverty. 39% of the children - 1.31 million - are in forced labour exploitation jobs, 10% of the children ...

  4. PDF Introduction to Child Labour

    Simply put, child labour is work that harms children. According to the International Labour Organization: INTRODUCTION TO CHILD LABOUR 1 A child is a person under the age of 18 Child labour Child labour 1is work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.

  5. READ: Child Labor (article)

    Child Labor. By Eman M. Elshaikh. Industrial capitalism created great wealth for some, and low-paying, unpleasant jobs for many more. Child labor was a social problem driven by this new economy. In the early twentieth century, a young American scholar left his teaching position to devote his time to taking pictures.

  6. Child Labor

    With regard to child labor by status in employment, the same report mentioned that two thirds of child laborers ages 5 to 17 years old are unpaid family workers (64% for boys versus 73% for girls). Paid employment and self-employment account respectively for 21% and 5% of all child laborers in the same age group.

  7. Child Labour: a Textbook for University Students

    Provides a comprehensive picture of child labour: what it is, the causes and issues, and how various actors can combat it. Gives the texts of the ILO Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) and Recommendation, 1973 (No.146), the ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) and Recommendation, 1999 (No. 190), and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990).

  8. What is child labour (IPEC)

    The worst forms of child labour. The worst forms of child labour involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities - often at a very early age. Whilst child labour takes many different forms, a priority is to eliminate without delay the worst forms of child labour as ...

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    Children continue to be exposed to physical harm and denied education while toiling for long hours in the world's wealthiest nations. Children as young as 12 and 13 years have been engaged in labour involving midnight shifts, dangerous machinery, and punishing physical demands across industries supplying some of the USA's largest corporations according to a harrowing New York Times ...

  10. PDF Addressing Child Labour

    While child labour has decreased over the past 15 years, a total of 152 million children—64 million girls and 88 million boys—are still engaged in child labour globally (see graph)2. Nearly ...

  11. Social Norms and Family Child Labor: A Systematic Literature Review

    1.1. Social Norms, Child Work and Family Child Labor. Child labor in the family is a contested concept, especially in the context of cultures that traditionally require children to perform domestic duties and support their parents as part of their childhood training [22,23].Whilst some argue that child work is an essential requirement for the socialization of children [24,25], others have ...

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    Child labor is an old problem well rooted in human history. Children were exploited to various extents during different periods of time. The problem was common in poor and developing countries. In the 1800's, child labor was part of economic life and industrial growth. Children less than 14 years old worked in agriculture, factories, mining ...

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    A new report from the NYU Wagner Labor Initiative and not-for-profit Economic Policy Institute provides an array of state-level policy prescriptions to deter growing violations of child labor laws. "State lawmakers can have a tremendous impact on protecting children and stopping child labor violations," said Terri Gerstein, director of the ...

  14. Child Labour

    This article discusses child labour from sociological perspectives, analyzing its prevalence in developing countries due to industrialization, urbanization, and poverty. It explains how child labour is both an economic and social evil that leads to serious health hazards, denies children opportunities for physical and mental development, and obstructs their academic progress.

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    Updated April 5, 2024 at 2:16 p.m. EDT | Published March 31, 2024 at 8:29 a.m. EDT. (Tara Anand/For The Washington Post) 8 min. 2202. As child labor violations soar across the country, dozens of ...

  16. Essay on Child Labour for Students and Children

    500+ Words Essay on Child Labour. Child labour is a term you might have heard about in news or movies. It refers to a crime where children are forced to work from a very early age. It is like expecting kids to perform responsibilities like working and fending for themselves. There are certain policies which have put restrictions and limitations ...

  17. Child Labor Essay: Thesis, Examples, & Writing Guide [2024]

    Speaking about child labor, you should understand the factors that lead to children employment: Poverty. According to ILO, it is one of the significant causes of child labor. Children have to work to support their families. Sometimes up to 40% of a household income is the child's salary. Lack of access to education.

  18. (PDF) Assessment of the impact of child labour on children educational

    ABSTRACT Child labour is an important aspect of social and economic reality that surrounds us although it is sometimes unnoticed. It is the severe problem of the world in general and the sub-Saharan countries like Ethiopia in particular in which children are considered an asset and means to improve livelihood of their family at the expense of their education.

  19. PDF Introduction on Child Labour

    Introduction on Child Labour. Children are the greatest gift to humanity and Childhood is an important and impressionable stage of human development as it holds the potential to the future development of any society. Children who are brought up in an environment, which is conducive to their intellectual, physical and social health, grow up to ...

  20. Child Labor by Country 2024

    The country with the highest number of child labor workers is Ethiopia. The country has a rating of 45 with males outpacing females 51 to 39. The next country on the list is Burkina Faso. The country has a score of 42. Here, the ratio of female to male child labor workers is a little more split with males just outpacing females 44 to 40.

  21. PDF Child labour "in a nutshell"

    Hazardous work. UncondiƟ onal worst forms of child labour. Shaded area = child labour for aboli on. The minimum age for admission to employment or work is determined by naƟ onal legislaƟ on and can be set as 14, 15 or 16 years. The minimum age at which light work is permissible can be set at 12 or 13 years.

  22. "A Critical Analysis Of Child Labour In India"

    The findings reveal that child labour was a serious evil for the developing country -India. But now as per census report 2011, The total number of working children in the country has declined from ...

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    The International Labor organization defines the Child labor in terms of its consequences for the children. According to the ILO, child labor is the one which impacts the educational, intellectual, psychological and emotional developments. According to this perspective, child labor is the one which deprives a child to get the