Child Labour

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Definition

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), not all work done by children should be classified as child labour which international programs such as the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) target to be eliminated.

"Child labour is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that:

  • is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and
  • interferes with their schooling by:
  • depriving them to leave school prematurely; or
  • requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.

In its most extreme forms, child labour involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to themselves on the streets of large cities." [1]

What forms of work can be considered child labour depends on the child's age, the type and hours of work performed under what circumstances. Furthermore, the ILO states diplomatically that "The answer varies from to country to country, as well as among sectors within countries." [2]

UNICEF defines "child labour as work that exceeds a minimum number of hours, depending on the age of a child and on the type of work. Such work is considered harmful to the child and should there be eliminated:

  • Ages 5-11:At least one hour of economic work or 28 hours of domestic work per week.
  • Ages 12-14: At least 14 hours of economic work or 28 hours of domestic work per week.
  • Ages 15-17: At least 43 hours of economic or domestic work per week."[3]


The problem of much work undertaken by children is that it interferes with education and thus is detrimental to their life opportunities. Research suggests that the effects of assets, such as land or livestock, has an ambiguous effect on the extent of child labour. Increased asset owning may imply a greater burden of work borne by children children such as, herding livestock or doing physical labour in the fields. An increase in assets can thus be detrimental to a child's education by diminishing regular school attendance. However, assets are found to be related positively to other dimensions of child well-being such as health.[4] 

Incidence

Children living in the poorest households and in rural areas are most likely to be engaged in child labour. The burden of household chores are overwhelmingly undertaken by girls. Girls working as domestic servants are also especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.[5] More information on child labour can be found in UNICEF's State of the World's Children.

In developing countries, 218 million children are engaged in some form of economic activity.[6]


Child labour data

Data visualisation

Child work and labour papers and publications

Measuring Deprivation Due to Child Work and Child Labour: A Study for Indian Children, 2011, S. Das and D. Mukherjee.

See also

Childhood Poverty

Poverty

Child Soldier

References

  1. International Labour Organization. “About Child Labour”. Retrieved June 17, 2011, from http://www.ilo.org/ipec/facts/lang--en/index.htm
  2. International Labour Organization. “About Child Labour”. Retrieved June 17, 2011, from http://www.ilo.org/ipec/facts/lang--en/index.htm
  3. UNICEF. “Child Labour”. Retrieved June 17, 2011, from http://www.unicef.org/protection/index_childlabour.html
  4. Chowa, Gina & Ansong, David & Masa, Rainier, (2010). "Assets and child well-being in developing countries: A research review," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 1508-1519, November.Available at: http://csd.wustl.edu/Publications/Documents/WP09-66.pdf
  5. UNICEF. “Child Labour”. Retrieved June 17, 2011, from http://www.unicef.org/protection/index_childlabour.html
  6. Kruger, Soares and Berthelon (2007), as used in:Chowa, Gina & Ansong, David & Masa, Rainier, (2010). "Assets and child well-being in developing countries: A research review," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 1508-1519, November.Available at: http://csd.wustl.edu/Publications/Documents/WP09-66.pdf

International Standards

Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (ILO Convention 182) (1999)

Minimum Age Convention (ILO convention 138) (1973)

 Recommendation 1336 (1997) by the Parliament of the Council of Europe on combating child labour as a matter of priority


Papers and publications

Poverty Alleviation and Child Labor, 2008, E. Edmonds and N. Schady, Policy Research Working Paper, World Bank.

External links


Article Information
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