The following graph plots the child labour and school attendance rates in 18 African countries 38 per cent of all children engaged in work can be considered harmful to their development school attendance still tends to be low
What is child labour?
Why child labour exists?
Key international regulations
Whether they are successful?
Unicef defined child labour as the works that are considered harmful
for a child and exceed a minimum number of hours
ILO defined child labour as, damage to children’s health, hamper their
education and lead to further exploitation and abuse
ILO also defined the worst form child labour which includes using
children in armed forces (i.e. In Africa) ,sexual exploitation like
prostitution and pornography, illegal activities like trafficking of drugs
• One of the major reasons behind child labour is the poverty when
children have no option left other than to work for their survivals
• In the developing countries when the government fails to provide the
basic requirements for the children
• when the only earning member of he family dies or suffering from
• Natural calamity like Tsunami, cyclone, flood etc. Also drag children
towards child labour
The UN published the children’s rights in the Convention
on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted in 1989.
Article 32 stated that government need to recognise: the right of the child to
be protected from economic exploitation, likely to interfere with the child’s
education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual,
moral or social development.
Article 28 Every child’s right to education
Article 34 Governments must protect children from sexual exploitation
European Union (EU) also decided in the meeting of council of Europe that
the children rights should be protected in the EU policy and action.
EU emphasises that Child Labour is a legal obligation based in international
treaties and conventions like convention on the Rights of the Child and ILO
convention 138 and 182.
The Laws on child labour may seem inadequate because even though more than130
country signed in the international conventions for not allowing children to work under
14 or 15 but to some countries these laws are still confusing or vague and not
The laws to regulate child’s health and safety at work are rarely enforced.
Poor infrastructure like systematic birth registration in the developing countries fails
to recognise the actual age of the children and employers take advantage of such
According to ILO Director general Juan Somavia reduction rate of child labour is not
satisfactory i.e. From 2004 to 2008 only 3% reduction of child labour.
The enforcement of Laws on child labour has been increased, for example, in UK Fast
food giants McDonald’s have been fined £12,400 for allowing children to work there.
Even third world country like Bangladesh had also enacted the Labour Act in 2006 which
prohibits employment of children under 14 years of age
Garment manufacturers of Bangladesh also put an end to the employment of children
under 14 years in their 200 factories because there was a threat of boycott from the
Working children, aged 5-17 7.4 million
Working children, aged 5-14 4.7 million
Child labourers, aged 5-17 3.2 million
Children engaged in hazardous labour, aged
Child domestic workers 421,000
Percentage of Children (aged 5-14) engaged
in child labour (2007)
National Slum Tribal
12.8 19.1 17.
What is the current
International key regulations had a great impact as it impliedly enforced
governments to enact some laws in order to protect children from child labour.
The children of third world countries are the main victims, so its the duty of
these international organisations and first world countries to help these
children as their government cannot ensure the basic requirements of a child.
However, it will not be the wise to stop working of children, rather proper
rehabilitation of their living will be more preferable
Child Labour in Bangladesh (2010)< http://www.unicef.org/protection/files/Child_Labour.pdf >accessed
23rd october 2010
Child Labour (2010) < http://www.unicef.org/protection/files/Child_Labour.pdf> accessed 23rd october
End Child Exploitation < http://www.unicef.org.uk/publications/pdf/ECECHILD2_A4.pdf> accessed
Council conclusions on Child Labour (2010)
<http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/115180.pdf > accessed
24th october 2010
New ILO global report on child labour (2010)
en/WCMS_126840/index.htm> accessed 25th october 2010
McDonald’s fined over child labour (2010)
<http://www.lexisnexis.com/uk/legal/search/commentarysubmitForm.do > accessed 26thoctober 2010
Child Labour in Bangladesh (2010)
/bd&childlabour.htm> accessed 25th october 2010