Child labour

Child labor

When you think of child labor you may immediately think of child slaves who have to work all day in hard living conditions, but that is not the complete picture. Not all of the work that children do is bad. For example, it may well be that you have a part-time job after school, and that is fine. It becomes a problem when work can potentially be a danger. The danger can be physical, mental or social. It could also mean that you can no longer go to school because of work.  

Therefore, child labor is the work that hinders the chances, the dignity and the right to education of children between the ages of 0 and 15, and also the work that is harmful to the physical and/or mental development of these children. In addition, extreme forms of (dangerous) work, done by children between the ages of 15 and 18, is also considered child labor.

  • Children’s rights: art 32 UN CRC: Children have the right to be protected from economic exploitation and from work that could be harmful for them. Next to that children that are working are often not going to school, which violates their right to education.  
  • Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 8: The goal on Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8) also provides for the abolishment of all child labor.

Would you like to start a project against child labor? Start your own new project, or download the step-by-step on how to start theatre shows to raise awareness like Aichurek!


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Child labour

What is the problem with child labor?
Child labor can create many different problems in the life of a child, such as malnutrition, mental health issues, drug addiction, but also it can violate other children’s rights, like the right to education. Let’s have a look at some facts on child labor. 

  • In the world’s poorest countries, around 1 in 4 children are engaged in child labor.
  • Worldwide 218 million children between 5 and 17 years are in employment. Among them, 152 million are victims of child labor; almost half of them, 73 million, work in hazardous child labor.
  • Among 152 million children in child labor, 88 million are boys and 64 million are girls.

These children often work in horrible and dangerous conditions. Their rights are violated daily. In some cases there is even sexual exploitation involved and this also violates the dignity and morals of a child. It is also possible that they are separated from their parents, because they have to work in a different place from where their parents live. Sometimes children are forced to work without food and very low wages which is almost the same as slavery. These children are often also victims of physical, mental, and sexual violence.  

Why is child labor important?
Child labor has to be stopped so that every child can have the opportunity to go to school, to play and to have the best future possible. If children are working, they cannot go to school! This means that these children will grow up to be adults without any education and not being able to read or write, which means they lack important life skills. Usually, the majority of children engage in child labor are from disadvantaged backgrounds, from minority groups, or even abducted from their families. They have no protection. In addition, their employers do whatever it is necessary to make them completely invisible, so that nobody knows or cares about them. This way they can exercise an absolute control over these children. Child labor is also an obstacle to be a child, to be able to play (which you also have the right to!) and do whatever you want.  

What can you do against child labor?

  • Educate parents
    Parents do not always know what big negative consequences it has when they allow or even force children to work. They only look at the short term and let the child work because they need the money for food, clothes or housing. You can educate them that in the long term it is better that the child is educated, so they can have a better job. Also tell them that the child has the right not to be forced to work! Organize a debate evening in your community in which you can share information and let parents and children talk to each other about this problem.
  • Report
    Is a child in your class suddenly not coming to school anymore? Or does a friend tell you that he or she needs to work to earn money? Often there are people you can report this to: a local organization, social workers, teachers etc. Research who can help you and report the case to them so they can take action.