What Is Child Labor?
It is work that children aged
under 14 should not be doing
because they are too young to
work and it is dangerous or
otherwise unsuitable for them.
The Scenario In India
India is home to more than 12.6 million children
who are forced to work in order to survive.
Children are working as domestic help, on
streets, in factories and farmlands silently
A major concern is that the actual number of
child laborers goes un-detected. Laws that are
meant to protect children from dangerous labor
are ineffective and not implemented correctly.
What Happens In Child Labor?
Children are used as domestic workers in urban areas.
They are often made to work without food, and very low
There are cases of physical, sexual and emotional abuse of
child domestic workers.
Many forms of child labor are harmful and they violate the
child’s freedom and human rights.
Children receive no payment if they are injured or become
ill, and can seek no protection if they suffer violence.
What Causes Child Labor?
Poverty and lack of social security are the
main causes of child labor.
The increasing gap between the rich and
Lack of quality education has also
contributed to children dropping out of
school and entering the labor force.
Types Of Child Labors?
Children are engaged in agricultural labor, in
mining, in manufacturing, in domestic service
and begging on the streets.
Others are trapped in forms of slavery in armed
conflicts and forced labor as well as in
commercial sexual exploitation and illegal
activities, such as drug trafficking and organized
Young children are sold to employers
by their parents to pay back small
loans that they have borrowed. Such
children are made to work for many
hours a day over several years.
According to a study, there are about
10 million bonded child laborers
working as house servants in Indian
families.According to another study
recently estimated that there were
nearly 55 million children in India
working as bonded laborers in
agriculture, mining, brick-
kilns, construction work, carpet
weaving, fireworks, cigarette-
making, gem-cutting, domestic
work, etc. About 20 percent of these
bonded child laborers were sold to
cover some small debts obtained by
Scavenging is the work that faces
children with the most extreme risk.
As many of them work with bare
feet, they get cuts; they are also
exposed to extreme weather
conditions, sunstroke, pneumonia, infl
uenza and malaria.They have to carry
heavy loads, which stunts their
physical growth.They face digestive
disorders and food poisoning as they
eat thrown away or left over food. A
recent study conducted in Delhi found
they were at risk of catchingAids, as
they may accidentally come into
contact with infected needles
deposited in the refuse. Since animals
scavenge in the same heaps of
refuse, dog bites are quite common
among these children.
Poverty is the main cause of child labor
in agriculture.Worldwide 60 percent of
all child laborers in the age group 5 - 14
years work in agriculture, including
farming, fishing, aquaculture, forestry, e
tc.This amounts to over 129 million girls
and boys.The majority of child laborers
are unpaid family members. In
agriculture this percentage is higher, and
is combined with very early entry into
work, sometimes between 5 and 7 years
of age. Agriculture is one of the three
most dangerous sectors in terms of
work-related fatalities, non-fatal
accidents and occupational diseases.
About 59 percent of all children in
hazardous work aged 5–14 are in
How CanWe Stop It?
Despite the enormity of the problem, child labor is a
phenomenon that can be combated, not only by policy
makers, but also by ordinary citizens. Below are some
suggestions on what students can do to take action and get
involved in the fight against child labor:
Inform yourselves- The first thing you can do is BE AWARE
about the state of child labor in the world, and be informed
about the abuses and injustices that go on. It affects you
more than you would think.Then you are in a position to go
and inform other people about child labor.
Recruit others into the campaign- In your region, establish
contact with other young people in schools and community groups
who could work with you in your action against child labor.
Link up with others- You can combine your efforts with those of
other people by using the 12 to 12 Community Portalto end child
labor.Check into the portal regularly and share your awareness-
raising ideas and experiences with other young people from around
the world. By sharing your actions you can inspire others to carry
out a similar initiative and increase the impact of your efforts!
Sensitize others-Create a presentation pack to raise
awareness on child labor using the resources and photos
available on the following web pages: ILO/IPEC campaign
and advocacy, ILO/IPEC information resources database, ILO
Awareness raising- Organize an event to raise awareness
about child labor.This could be a play, concert or public
debate. Remember to also involve parents and family
members, who can be precious sources of knowledge and
inspiration. Perhaps you could make posters or write to
newspapers or magazines about the issue.
No individual, no organization, even the
largest one, can begin to stop child labor on
its own, and no action, even the
smallest, can be dismissed as being too
small to bring about change. It is only
through joining the forces of goodwill on all
levels of society that we can hope to put an
end to child labor.