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Definition of Child Labour
What is Childhood?
Difference Between “Child Work” and “Child Labour”
Global Definition of Child Labour
Definition of the Worst Forms of Child Labour
The Forms of Labour in Agriculture
The Forms of Labour for the Family
The Forms of Labour in the Formal Sector
The Forms of Labour in the Informal Sector
Situation of Child Labour
The Challenges of Measuring Child Labour
Sectors in Which Children Labour
Countries Where Children Labour
Economics of Child Labour
The Causes of Child Labour
Countries in Transition
The HIV/AIDS Pandemic
Natural Disasters and Child Labour
Armed Conflict and Child Labour
Children as Highly Prized Labour
The Lack of School Education
What Has Already Been Done
The Convention on the Rights of the Child
ILO’s Convention No. 138 Minimum Age Recommendation
ILO’s Convention No. 182 Against the Worst Forms of Child Labour
Exemples of Application
Examples of Application
Demobilizing Child Soldiers
EU Supports Turkey to Fight Against Child Labour
NGOs Mushroom in Zambia
Farm Schools in Zimbabwe
“Paradise for Paedophiles” in Sri Lanka
Domestic Workers Unions in the Philippines
Soccer-Ball Stitching in Pakistan
Initiatives to Address HIV/AIDS and Child Labour
Credit: Robin Thom
ILO's Definition of Child Labour
Child labour is work to which children are compelled, in violation of international and national regulations. The ILO claims that child labour is always illegal, because it designates:
- an economic activity practised by children below the age of twelve;
- a labour which is not light, and accomplished by twelve to fourteen year-old children;
- the worst forms of child labour, whatever the age of the children.
Child labour means a full-time activity, obviously incompatible with schooling. The work can take place inside or outside the house. Working children are often deprived ones, who have to participate to their family survival by becoming a servant, packer, factory worker or by working in the streets. These children often face abusive exploitation by unscrupulous employers: low wages for long hours of work, tiring physical efforts not adapted to their young age, and trying work conditions that endanger the children’s physical and psychological well-being. They might lack food and sleep, be imprisoned on their workplace, or be assaulted or abused. Sometimes, these children’s lives are worthless, simply because they are poor.
UNICEF's Definition of Child Labour
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) considers that child labour becomes exploitation when it implies too young full-time workers, too many hours
of labour per day, immoderate physical, social and psychological constraints, dangerous and potentially health-damaging working conditions, insufficient earnings, immoderate responsibilities, and
when it constitutes an hindrance to access to education and an infringement of children’s dignity (examples: slavery and sexual exploitation).
Forms of Child Labour to be Abolished
The ILO wants to abolish three types of child labour:
- Labours performed by children who are under the minimum age for that specific kind of work. The minimum ages are specified in national legislations, in accord with international conventions.
- Labours that might harm children physically, mentally or morally; this kind of labour is called “hazardous work”, because of its nature or its working conditions.
- Labours that are part of the “worst forms of child labour”, and include all forms of forced labour (see below).