CSRidentity
 
 
Child labour

Intro
Child labour refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful. This practice is considered exploitative by many international organisations. Legislation across the world prohibit child labour. These laws do not consider all work by children as child labour; exceptions include work by child artists, family duties, supervised training, certain categories of work such as those by Amish children, some forms of child work common among indigenous American children, and others.

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Not all work done by children should be classified as child labour that is to be targeted for elimination. Children’s or adolescents’ participation in work that does not affect their health and personal development or interfere with their schooling, is generally regarded as being something positive. This includes activities such as helping their parents around the home, assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and during school holidays. These kinds of activities contribute to children’s development and to the welfare of their families; they provide them with skills and experience, and help to prepare them to be productive members of society during their adult life.

The term “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 of the opportunity to attend school;
obliging 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 fend for themselves on the streets of large cities – often at a very early age. Whether or not particular forms of “work” can be called “child labour” depends on the child’s age, the type and hours of work performed, the conditions under which it is performed and the objectives pursued by individual countries. The answer varies from country to country, as well as among sectors within countries.

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An estimated 150 million children worldwide are engaged in child labour
Children around the world are routinely engaged in paid and unpaid forms of work that are not harmful to them. However, they are classified as child labourers when they are either too young to work or are involved in hazardous activities that may compromise their physical, mental, social or educational development. The prevalence of child labour is highest in sub-Saharan Africa. In the least developed countries, nearly one in four children (ages 5 to 14) are engaged in labour that is considered detrimental to their health and development.
The issue of child labour is guided by three main international conventions: the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 138 concerning minimum age for admission to employment and Recommendation No. 146 (1973); ILO Convention No. 182 concerning the prohibition and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour and Recommendation No. 190 (1999); and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. These conventions frame the concept of child labour and form the basis for child labour legislation enacted by countries that are signatories.

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Action against child labour
IPEC’s aim is the progressive elimination of child labour worldwide, with the eradication of the worst forms an urgent priority. Since it began operations in 1992, IPEC has worked to achieve this in several ways: through country-based programmes which promote policy reform, build institutional capacity and put in place concrete measures to end child labour; and through awareness raising and mobilization intended to change social attitudes and promote ratification and effective implementation of ILO child labour Conventions. These efforts have resulted in hundreds of thousands of children being withdrawn from work and rehabilitated or prevented from entering the workforce. Complementary to this direct action throughout has been substantial in-depth statistical and qualitative research, policy and legal analysis, programme evaluation and child labour monitoring, which have permitted the accumulation of vast knowledge base of statistical data and methodologies, thematic studies, good practices, guidelines and training materials.

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Facts and figures
Global number of children in child labour has declined by one third since 2000, from 246 million to 168 million children. More than half of them, 85 million, are in hazardous work (down from 171 million in 2000).
Asia and the Pacific still has the largest numbers (almost 78 million or 9.3% of child population), but Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be the region with the highest incidence of child labour (59 million, over 21%).
There are 13 million (8.8%) of children in child labour in Latin America and the Caribbean and in the Middle East and North Africa there are 9.2 million (8.4%).
Agriculture remains by far the most important sector where child labourers can be found (98 million, or 59%), but the problems are not negligible in services (54 million) and industry (12 million) – mostly in the informal economy.
Child labour among girls fell by 40% since 2000, compared to 25% for boys.

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