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Child labour

The International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted in June 2011 the groundbreaking Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, which for the first time sets out global labour standards for the estimated 50 to 100 million domestic workers worldwide, the majority of whom are women and girls. Read about the campaign establish this convention here


Read about the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and its two Conventions on child labour

Recent figures from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) show that:

  • Globally, 1 in 6 children work
  • 218 million children aged 5 - 17 are involved in child labour world wide
  • 126 million children work in hazardous conditions
  • The highest numbers of child labourers are in the Asia/Pacific region, where there are 122 million working children
  • The highest proportion of child labourers is in Sub Saharan Africa, where 26% of children (49 million) are involved in work.

There has often been a tendency to focus on the visible forms of work, such as children who work in hazardous conditions, but this can obscure the many other ways in which children work. Rural working children, for example, are mainly engaged in agricultural activities and collecting water, fuel and fodder. In many countries, poor girls work as domestic servants for richer families. Almost everywhere, children, especially girls, perform unpaid work for their families. That work is done in the home or in family enterprises does not necessarily make it easier or more acceptable.

Child Labour and the Convention on the Rights of the Child

The CRC contains several articles that refer specifically refer to the issue of child labour. Article 32 protects children from economic exploitation and dangerous labour. Protection from sexual exploitation, including prostitution, is set out in article 34.


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