It has been observed over decades that, poverty forces poor families to send their children to work, which results in a serious problem the world is facing nowadays. Child labour can leave many severe consequences on children and their families. When children work, it does not mean as a standard, they support their families economically, neither all of them get paid for their work since many of them work as bonded labour or as slaves. In addition to that, they face many problems which may cause permanent damage to their childhood.
Children usually work to contribute and provide financial support to their families. Their health is often ignored by their parents or they may not be aware about their children’s health. This paper illustrates how both India and Nigeria have adopted laws and regulations to eliminate child labour. However despite all the efforts, child labour and the factors that influence the incidence of child labour continues to be prevalent.
The results from this study explain the reasons which forces children to work, poverty. This paper also draws conclusion that governments, societies, and communities should cooperate in a better way with each other to decrease child labour. Possible and innovate solutions and suggestions are arose at the end of this paper. Keywords: child labour, poverty, education, India, Nigeria, governments, International labour organizations
Child labour; the effect on child, causes and remedies to the revolving menace 1 Introduction For many years, child labour has been one of the biggest obstacles to social development. It is a challenge and long-term goal in many countries to abolish all forms of child labour. Especially in developing countries, it is considered as a serious issue these days. Child labour refers to children who miss their childhood and are not able to have the basic amenities which a child should have. Recently the International Labour Organization (ILO,2013) estimated there are around 215 million children between the ages five to fourteen who works worldwide.
They are often mistreated and work for prolonged hours, in very bad conditions. This can affect their health physically, mentally and emotionally. These children do not have the basic rights like access to school or health care.
According to ILO (2013) the largest numbers of child labourers are working in hazardous work and the total number of child workers is increasing, even though it is forbidden by law. These children are vulnerable to diseases and they struggle with long-term physical and psychological pain. The main cause that induces children to work is poverty. These children work for theirsurvival and the ir families. (Mapaure, 2009).Some studies like Dessy and Pallage (2003) argue not all the work that children do is harmful or brutal. Some work may provide successful learning opportunities, such as babysitting or newspaper delivery jobs, but not if the work exposes them to psychological stress, like human trafficking, prostitution and pornographic activities.
The international organizations have made great efforts to eliminate child labour across the
world. Many countries have adopted legislation to prohibit child labour; nonetheless child labour
is widespread throughout the world. It is not easy task for low income countries to achieve
banning child labour. Several studies and international organizations considered that education is
the key strategy in addressing child labour, and it can help children to stay away from work.
However not every family can afford to send their children to school or, even if they enrolled,
afford to keep them attending the school.
1.2 Research purpose and questions
Child labour is a serious problem and a challenge for many developing countries. Many
countries have enacted various laws and have taken serious initiatives to eradicate child labour,
but still the problem is very widespread throughout the world. This paper critically examined
child labour in India and Nigeria and how both governments undertake various programs to
eradicate child labour through different organizations and agencies. In addition to understanding
and investigating different reasons behind the plague of child labour that has engulfed
throughout the world and a brief review on how child labour has so far been studied .Further,
this paper states how to contribute to in raising the government’s awareness about the importance
of issues related to child labour, education and their living condition.
This research work addresses a question:
What are the current patterns in child labour in India and Nigeria now?
What kind of policies are adopted to address child labour in India and Nigeria?
How does policies adopted relate to previously identified causes?
This study it has been based on a comparative case study between two countries. The
comparative method is going to give the researchers practical tools for analysis and research.
This approach allows the researcher to understand when two or more cases are set against one
another(Bryman 2008, p.58). In order to answer research question secondary data is collected
through literature material researched from academicbooks, articles, and news and research
reports on child labour, poverty education and public health of child labour. The literature review
is mostly based on research papers of different scholars and reports provided by UNICEF, ILO
and World Bank in terms of international labour standards and human rights conventions.
Secondary data were also extracted from international organisations like the ILO, the UN and the
World Bank. This paper attempts to provide with realistic overview of the child labour situation.
Peer reviewed online resources and academic articles written by different scholars, were used in
this paper to determine the existing child labour policies.
Since child labour is an extremelycomplex phenomenon, this studyis limited to examining the
nature and extent of child labour aged between five and fourteen years old. The largest number
of working children between the ages of five and fourteen involved in economic activities
worldwide. The study focuses on the fight against child labour, and the importance of legislation
for working children. This study looks at the two countries India and Nigeria and to describe
what policies have already been implementedto tackle child labour. India and Nigeria have been
chosen for the study because today, Asia has more child labour in the world, for example India
has the largest number of world’s working children with almost every third child being a child
labour and every fourth child between the age group of five to fifteen is engaged in some
economic activities. While, Nigeria has the highest the incidence of child labourers in Africa.
Both countries have been experiencing the burden of the phenomenon and difficulties to
eradicate it(Bhat& Rather, 2009; Owolabi, 2012).
This study is divided into four chapters. Chapter One provides the background of the problem,
the purpose of the research question, methodology, delimitations and outline. Chapter Two
explores the situation of child labour in India and Nigeria and then explains the problems of
enforcing child labour regulations. Chapter Three gives an overview and definition of child
labour- , rural and urban, the differences between boys and girls engaged in economic activity,
the link between child labour and poverty, various factors involved in child labour. After a
description of the International Legal frameworks of ILO and UNICEF and also describes some
of the major international and regional organizations, governments and the work they have done
to fight against child labour. Chapter Four presents the theoretical framework which gives
outline of the causes behind child labour,the child labour problems in relation to primary
schooling and the reasons which makes children drop out of school or not go to school. Chapter
Five, the results of the study is reported. In Chapter six presents the conclusion.
The incidence of child labour is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa followed by Asia and the
Pacific. The prevalence of child labour is very high in sub-Saharan Africa especially in Nigeria.
About 48 million child laborers across sub-Saharan Africa, including 15 million in Nigeria
engaged in child labour (Ajakaye,2013) In Asia and the Pacific is the region with the largest
number of child labour, India has the largest number of children in the world (ILO,2012)Child
labour is an old phenomenon in both India and Nigeria According to Vaknin(2009), it is
traditional in both countries to send a child to work children participated in agricultural and
household work. Parents consider that the work help children learn new skills, however these
children are exposed to hazards and to physical factors.
Both countries were colonized by British. Nigeria became a British colony in 1800 but acquired
its independence in 1960. Since independence the country experienced a very violent history.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with more than 170 million people. The country
has the largest oil and gas reserves in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite its oil wealth, however,
Nigeria remains highly underdeveloped. Poor governance and corruption have limited
infrastructure development and social service delivery and slowing economic growth keeping
much of the population suffers from extreme poverty (Ploch,2013)
In 1612 India became British colony and independent in 1947. India is world's second most
populous country with 1.2 billion people. Indian economy is among the fastest in the world,
however the level of poverty in India is still high with high rate illiteracy rates, disease, and
malnutrition and largest awareness of poor people in the world(Krishna , 2012)
In this chapter I look into the child labour situation in India and Nigeria and how government
supporting to eliminate child labour.
2.1 Child labour in India
The use of child labour is very prevalence in India and the cause is deep rooted with poverty.
UNICEF India has estimated 28 million children aged five to fourteen involved in work
(UNICEF,2011) Child labour is not a new phenomenon in India where children has always
worked. During the industrial revolution child labour increased, due to the shift of labour
movements to colonial countries. Children can be found in every sector of the informal economy
(Molanka,2008).The incidence of working children in India are engaged in hazardous
occupations such as factories manufacturing diamonds, fireworks, silk and carpets, glass and
bricks(Waghamode& Kalyan,2013). There are several factors that force children to work such as
inadequate economic growth, poverty, unemployment over population and lack of education and
health care (Ahmad,2012).
On school attendance in India a large number of children between tento fourteen years of age
are not enrolled in school because of household economic condition. Attendance in school or
dropout differs for male and female while boys are more likely to provide financial income for
the family, girls are more involved in household chores (Kakoli & Sayeed ,2013).High illiteracy
and dropout rates are high in India due to inadequacy of the educational system. Even through
many poor families don’t see education as a benefit to society, they consider that work develops
skills that can be used to earn income (Ahmed, 2012)
2.2 The legal framework and policies to control child labour in India
The India government has established various proactive policies towards elimination of child
labour. India has not yet ratified ILO Conventions 138 and 182 on banning child labour and
eliminating the worst forms of exploitation. However the government of India implemented a
child labour law in 1986(The Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act) the legislation sets a
minimum age for employment of children at fourteen years and forbid child labour in dangerous
sectors. The Government prohibits forced and bonded child labour but is not able to enforce this
prohibition. The Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act does not forbid child labour but
consider about regulating it.But indeed the law does not eliminate all forms of child labour
specially when the vast majority of children under the age of fourteen are working in family
farms or doing households (Venkatarangaiya Foundation;2005).
India has a number of child labour projects which have been implemented to help children from
hazardous occupations and provide them an education. Including the National Child Labour
Policy (NCLP) started in 1987. The aim of NCLP is to help children in hazardous activities and
provide non-formal education, vocational training, supplementary nutrition etc. The ILO IPEC
(International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour) is also another progarmme which
eliminate child labour, the programme sponsors 175 projects in India(Padmanabhan,2010 )
Furthermore, several NGOs like Care India, Child Rights and You, Global March against Child
Labour, etc. have taken up the task to get the children back to school and also volunteers along
with villagers. The MV Foundation is non-governmental organisation (NGO) whose mission is
to tackle child labour through promoting elementary education, even approaching parents to send
their children to school. In spite of various laws regarding child labour and much efforts done by
the non-governmental organizations, nonetheless children continue to work on a massive scale in
most parts of the country. This is a problem because most child labour laws in India do not cover
all types of work such as agriculture, wholesale trade, restaurants and domestic works. Usually
these children are the most vulnerable child labourers (Venkatarangaiya Foundation;2005).
Despite these efforts, child labourlegislation to protect children has been unsuccessful, this is
because of the majority of Indian population lives in rural areas withlack of infrastructure and is
difficult to enforcement of laws and policies in rural areas. Many of the policies and legislative
tools in India are rooted deeply in defection, allowing for illegal behaviours to take advantage of
flaws. Many people believe that the cause of these behaviours is something technical, it will be
shown that there is a relative heavy percentage of human omitting factor involved, often arising
from the mentioned attitudes towards children’s work(Murphy, 2005).
2.3 Child labor in Nigeria
Child labour is prevalent in urban centers in Nigeria. This is because a large number of people
move from the rural areas to urban area. Over the years there has been a rapid growth in
Nigeria’s population because of massive rural-urban migration. For instance Uyo is the capital of
Akwa Ibom State, the city has experienced rapid urbanization and many poor rural families
struggle for a better life in urban areas. This pushes families toforce their children to work in
order to supplement family incomes (Okafor,2010; Nseabasi & Abiodun 2010).
The number of child labour is increasing in Nigeria, in 1995, the number of child labour was
twelve million while by 2006 the number of child labour under the age fourteen has risen to
fifteen million (Adegun,2013).The International Labor Organization estimates that about 25
percent of Nigeria’s 80 million children under the age of fourteen are involved in child labour.
Children works in different sectors such as farms, domestic help, in fishing, mining, armed
conflict, street hawking, and child trafficking. The number of child labour involved in street
hawking is a very common form of child labour in Nigerian cities, these children working from
morning to evening and as a result of this, they do not have the time to enroll in schools or most
of them drop outof school. Awosusi& Adebo (2012) assumes that many child labourersin
Nigeria are abused physically, mentally, sexually and psychologically. They work long hours
under dangerous and hazardous conditions with little or no pay benefits.
Education in Nigeria is compulsory for a child that till nine years old. Nigerian government
makes primary education free and compulsory for all children However, many children do not
attend school, about six million children in Nigeria, both boys and girl, are estimated to be
working .The dropout rates for primary school are high for both boys and girls because of several
factors such as poverty and early marriage teenage pregnancy poor school, or cultural and
religious issues (Awosusi& Adebo,2012; Elijah & Okoruwa,2006)
2.4 The legal framework and policies to control child labour in Nigeria
Several policies and legislations have been adopted by the Federal Government of Nigeria for
improving the welfare of children by eradicating child labour. However, ILO (2000) states some
of the legislation and policies have deteriorated, and are not being imposed. Although, there is no
direct labour policy in the country, there are several policies and social programmes which aims
at improving education, health, population, social development, and child welfare if enforced
would help to reduce child labour (ILO,2000)
The Federal Labor Act Government have set the minimum age for the employment of children at
twelve years and is in force in all the 36 states of Nigeria. The Nigeria’s Labor Actpermits
children at any ageto perform light work in domestic service or work with family member in
agriculture. However, the Child Rights Act prohibits the worst forms of child labour, including
the forced labour of children and use of children in prostitution or in armed conflict. The Labor
Act sets different ages forvarious hazardous occupations. For instance, a child aged fifteen or
older can work in industries. The law forbids children under age of sixteen to work underground
or to work with machines but clearly allow children aged between sixteen to eighteen to do these
hazardous occupations. However, the same law prohibits employment of child under the age of
eighteen to work in harmful environment. The law does not remove children from domestic
service, this can increased incentives for parents to send their children to work (United States
Department of Labor, 2011).
In 2002 Nigeria ratified Convention No. 138, the Minimum Age Convention and Convention No.
182, the Worst Forms of Child Labour. Nigeria also adopted the United Nations Convention on
the Rights of the Child, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which
appeared to have laid rest to the argument that children have no clearly definable rights in
Nigeria. Both the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination
of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) were adopted in 1991 and 1985
respectively. However both the CRC and CEDAW have now been “domesticated” in Nigeria.
The African Charter has also been domesticated by Nigeria. However, the National Assembly
should seriously look into these and other international laws, especially human rights issues that
adversely affect the rights and fundamental freedoms of the citizenry. Thus, the problem now is
how effectively toenforce and monitor the implementation of these provisions as they affect
children’s and women’s rights in Nigeria. This also presupposes that all social rights should be
made justifiable in Nigeria so as to empower the less privileged in the society (Onyemachi,
The Nigerian government has provided an enabling environment and support for these civil
society organizations (CSOs) to thrive and has drawn from their work formulate policies,
programmes and interventions for child victims of abuse and violence (Ekpenyong& Sibirii,
2011). On 2000, the Nigerian Government established a national program to eliminate the worst
forms of child labour in Nigeria (Elijah& Okoruwa, 2006). Despite all these children are still
abused. Ekpenyong and Sibirii (2011) states the reason child labour is prevalent is due to the
economic situation where many families live below poverty and can barely earn enough to feed
themselves and their children. Furthermore mainly child laborers are engaged at the household
level or street hawking Togunde and Arielle (2008) argues that regulations regarding street
hawking have been difficult to control by the government.
3 Defining and contextualising child labour
3.1 Definition of child labour
The term child labour has many definitions by different scholars. According to Suda(2011) the
term child labour refers to when children is working in any type of work that is dangerous and
harmful to children’s health or the work hinders their education. For Moyi (2011) child labour
refers to low wages, long hours, physical and sexual abuse. According to Edmonds and Pavcnik
(2005) child labour is viewed as a form of child labour abuse, when children work in bad
conditions and hazardous occupations.
The meaning of the term of child labour also varies among organizations, ILO argues that child
labour is difficult to define. It depends on the type of the job and, if the age is under eighteen and
if the job intervenes the children’s education and development (ILO: 2004). A child, according to
the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 1989 refers to a person under the age of
eighteen. The World Bank assumes that child labour can do serious threat to long-term national
investment. Furthermore, according to UNICEF the problem of child labour can have more bad
consequences besides all the concerns of investment or its relation to economic activity (ILO,
2013; Weston, 2005).
Bhat (2010) asserts that the definition of child labour is not simple because it includes three
difficult concepts to define, which are “child”, “work” and “labour”. He claims that the term of
childhood can be defined by age but in some societies, people cease to be a child at different
ages. The onset of puberty occurs at different ages for different people. Therefore in the Article
1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the ILO Convention on the
Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999 (No. 182) defines a child who is under the age of eighteen
years (Bhat, 2011). The definition of child labour differs among societies, for example in Africa
and Asia they do not consider the work of fifteen years old person as a child labour, they view
child labour as a good taskthat children learn skills from work. They distinguish between child
labour and child work, where child work is considered to be a part of the children’s training to be
responsible adults while child labour is thought to be exploitative (Omokhodion & Odusote
Not all work that children does is severe, according to ILO reports (2002) if a work does not
hinder children’s schooling or do not affect their health physically and mentally, then it is
generally not categorized as child labour. For instance helping parents at home, looking after
siblings or working for pocket money after school hours and during holidays. Also Aqil (2012)
assumes that not all work that children do can harm their health or considered as exploitative but
it depends on what kind of work they are involved in and how many hours they work. It also
depends on work conditions, or environment. However Weston (2005) argues that any work
children do, can bedamaging to their health because the work can be abusive, exploitative or
hazardous and it can influence their health. Omokhodion and Odusote (2006) argued that any
work that children does outside home is classified as child labour. According to them working
outside home is usually exposed to environmental hazards which may affect their health and
3.2 Overview of Child labour
During the beginning of the industrial revolution children were forced to work around family
farms, in factories, tending crops or preparing food. They work in industries and their
conditions of work were very dangerous and often deadly. At that time, the industry preferred
children to work because children provided cheap labour and more malleable workers (Basu et
al. 1999). In 1833 and 1844 the first legislation came to ban child labour. It implied that children
should not work, and the idea was to remove all children from labour which interfered with
school. However many children continued to be involved as child labour which was prohibited
by law (Bhat 2011).
Indeed child labour was almost completely reduced from the developed world, however
currently, child labour still continues to rise in developing countries because of rapid
population growth, high rates of unemployment, inflation, poverty, malnutrition, bad leadership,
corruption and low wages (Bass, 2004). Child labour is taking place everywhere in the world
particularly in low income countries and these children are working in all sectors of the
economy, such as agriculture, manufacturing, fishing, construction, domestic service street
vending etc. In addition to that children are normally unregistered as employers and working in
very poor and dangerous conditions without social protection. (Serwadda-Luwaga ,2005)
The incidence of child labourers throughout the world is difficult to verify because of the lack of
reliable statistics of child labour. The reason is that the governments usually do not collect
current data regarding child labour, and many child labourers are invisible (Das, 2012). Although
reliable data is not available, ILO has estimated the number of child labourers in 2008 were 215
million boys and girls aged between five to seventeen years worldwide, with 115 million of them
working in hazardous jobs (Aqil, 2012). The table 1.1 below shows that Asia-Pacific region has
the highest number of child labourers with (113.6 million), after that sub-Saharan Africa (65.1
million) and Latin America and the Caribbean (14.1 million) (Muhumuza, 2012).
Latin America and the Caribbean
Source: Accelerating action against child labour: 2010
3.3 Rural and urban child labour
Child labour has been a complex rural problem, as well with children helping out in the farm
with their families. The vast majority of child labour is involved in agriculture. On the other hand
agricultural sector is the mainstay of developing countries economy, particularly in Africa.
(Baker,2008).Generally, throughout the world rural children were more likely to be engaged in
economic labour activities compared to urban children, because poverty is more prevalent in
rural areas especially among those who depend on agriculture(Akarro& Mtweve, 2011). Poor
rural families considers making their children work in farms, may increase household’s income
(Serwadda-Luwaga,2005). Rickey (2009) points out that many rural areas lack basic services
such as electricity and access to drinking water. In such cases their children must fetch water
especially girls, who are more involved in housework.
Child labour also exists in cities. According to World Bank, child worker is typically a sign of
urban poverty in many countries, and special in Sub-Saharan Africa. Urban children usually are
involved in domestic work or sales. Their working conditions are very poor, unhealthy and
crowded. They work for long hours with very low wage or no wage. Girls are usually the most
vulnerable; they are typically trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in urban centres such
as Mumbai, Calcutta and New Delhi (Baker, 2008). They face many problems due to poverty.
Poor urban children are at particular risk of many problems such as lack of education, healthcare
and social protection (Baker, 2008). Urban children attend more to school than rural children.
Urban areas provide better educational access, quality and infrastructure than rural areas. For
poor rural children living far off from school, transportation cost often becomes a challenging
affair for their families (Hueble, 2008). According to Edmonds (2007) rural children work more
and for longer hours than urban regions. Regarding attendance, due to limited access to school
rural children are more likely to be involved in child labour. Moreover, urban and rural areas
differ in the terms of how schooling and child labour are related. Education levels are generally
very low among children in rural areas.
3.4 Gender differentials in child labour
There is gender discrimination among child labour.Boys and girls often do different jobs and its
differs by country and industry, for instance boys are more economically active than girls in
Latin American countries like Bolivia and Colombia, but in Africa such as Côte d’Ivoire and
Ghana, girls are more involved in economic activities. Girls and boys can be found in different
types of economic activities. For example boys are more concentrated in manufacturing, trade,
restaurants, hotels, and transport, while girls are more concentrated in agriculture and domestic
work(World Bank: 2005).
Another study by Edmonds (2007) found that a large number of child labourers are engaged in
domestic works who are employed by private households, for example Kenya, Tanzania and
Zambia. Edmonds (2007) assumes that boys in Bangladesh tend to engage more in industrial
activities than girls. Boys are more likely to be found in fishing, wood furniture manufacturing,
construction site, retail trade of grocery ,while girls are likely to work in textile, handcrafting and
in private household services.
Mamadou (2 009) asserts that boys tend to be engaged more in economic activities, while girls
are more involved in household chores or taking care of siblings. In general, girls are often made
invisible in labour whereas they represent a very large proportion of working children. This is
because, parents often have to decide to send only some of their children to school, and it is often
the girl who loses out(Bhat: 2010). Ray (2001) carried out a research in Nepal and Pakistan.
Where he assumed that gender bias was more prevalence in case of Pakistan than compared to
Nepal. In Pakistan boys are more likely work longer hours than girls and rural children are
poorer than urban, while it was the opposite in Nepal.
3.5 Child labour and poverty
Poverty create many problems such as child labour, prostitution, corruption, robbery, increased
unemployment, poor living conditions, malnutrition etc. ( Owolabi,2012;Ekpenyong& Sibirii,
2011). Child poverty refers to children who are born to poor parents. Child poverty differs from
adult poverty because it has different reasons and effects, for example it robs a child of his/her
childhood. It may affect or bear a long lasting or psychological make up in their mind and the
impact of poverty during childhood leaves permanent effects on children. Poverty influences
children in many social ways, for instance that malnutrition can affect health and education
which in turn may impact a child’s long term development (Ortiz et al.2012). According to
UNICEF child poverty is based on child rights, these children lack adequate nutrition, lack
decent water and sanitation facilities, health services, education and information (Ortiz et
Practically, poor people face inadequate basic needs such as food, clothing, health facilities etc.
People who live below poverty line, live in sever housing conditions and poor sanitary and
hygienic conditions. Many of them live in slums or poor residential areas and some of them lack
hosing, health care and nutrition sufficiency. Although illiteracy is far more prevalent among
poor people, many of them lack education or they drop out of school because of high cost of
schooling. In general, poor people earn little and in such cases parents are not able to take care of
all the responsibilities of their children and they oblige their children to work to increase
household income (Khan,2001). Hosen (2010) showed that in Bangladesh poor rural parents can
barley afford food let alone pay for school fees for their children.
Several empirical studies show the link between living standards and child labor. Krueger (1996)
showed evident trend from cross-country sample, that low income households are more likely to
send their children to labour market which is uncommon in richer households. Duryea, Lam, and
Levison (2007) found in urban Brazil that the father's unemployment compels their children to
work to in order increase families income.
Aqil (2012) assumes that when parents have worked in their childhood their children will work
as well, passing it from generation to a generation. As a result, once they are grown, they become
uneducated and low-skilled. Therefore parents’ education plays a vital role in children education
as it can increase the possibility for their children to have a good education (Aqil, 2012; Wahba,
2000). Fasih (2007) assumes that child labour creates unskilled and uneducated labour which in
turn affects country’s development and economy.
3.6 Types of child labour
Child labourers are involved in many different forms of works, which include risks and hazards.
These children are vulnerable to physical pain and injury particularly being exposed to health
hazards (Levison& Murray, 2005). According to ILO (2012) the vast majority of child labour is
involved in hazardous occupations such as agriculture, mining, manufacture, construction
bonded child labour, domestic work and fishing. Environmental and occupational conditions can
impact on the health and development of the children. Children working in different sectors such
as agriculture, factories, domestic labour, sex workers and carrying out their illicit activities,
migrant labourers, and on the streets as vendors etc. The effect of job and activities can vary
from a country to acountry. Also working conditions, ages and gender of children involved in
the differences too (O. O’Donnell et al., 2002). According to Amon et al., (2012) mainly child
labourers in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Southeast Asia are involved in the worst forms of child
labour , which persists such as child trafficking, bonded child labour, child domestic work,
hazardous child labour, etc. More than 90 percent of working children in hazardous jobs which
are exposed to chemicals, and dangerous tools.
3.7The International Organizations
The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations International Children’s
Emergency Fund (UNICEF) are two of the predominant international agencies working against
child labour. The ILO support governments on setting policies or convention as well as
implementing numerous programs. These include direct projects such as offering vocational
training to children and indirect projects to strengthen the skill of government officials
employers and organizations workers’. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) improves
the healthcare and the quality of education. The ILO set two international labour standard
conventions, which are presented as the following. The aim of two conventions are to protect the
children from exploited employment, unsafe and unhealthy work and set a minimum age,
children under the age of fourteen are not allowed to work. Many organizations like ILO and
UNICEF and scholars recommend that child labour can be tackled through public and education
policy. (Bhat,2010;Bhat et al,2009) Moreover, many countries around the world have established
child labour laws; however some countries have failed or could not achieve that goal because of
social economic problems; such as poverty which makes poor families to push many children
into labour market to increase family income. Huebler(2008) suggested that policy on child
labour is not effective for society if the family lacks basic human needs. They are forced to send
children to earn money ignoring the policies on education. Most countries have child labour laws
to protect children under a certain age from workplace, although child labour laws are very
difficult to enforce. Betcherman el., (2004) claims this is because of most child labourers work
in rural areas or work for their families, or remain invisible working in domestic homes and
unregistered establishments (Betcherman el., 2004).
3.7.1 ILO Convention No. 138 on the minimum age for admission to employment
and work (1973)
The ILO’s Convention No. 138 Minimum Age Convention ratiﬁed by 161 countries and adopted
by International Labour Organization in 1973. The main aim of ILO’s Convention 138 is to set a
minimum age for employment and that children under fifteen years of age should not be
working. For light work the age should not be under thirteen, harmful to a child’s health and
does not interfere with their school. Children under eighteen are not allowed to work in
hazardous work. On the other hand, State Parties allow some types of hazardous work from the
age of sixteen if they provide adequate protection and training. Some countries like Brazil, China
and Kenya have already set the minimum age for hazardous work at sixteen years (ILO,2012).
While the ILO Convention 138, has reduced child labour in some places, many consumers in
North America and Europe prohibits imports made by child worker or boycotted companies
using child labour in their supply chains. For example in Bangladesh garment industry removed
50,000 children who were involved in poor condition with less payment, and mostly girls under
the age fourteen were removed from work( Betcherman et al., 2004).
3.7.2 ILO Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labour (1999)
The term Worst forms of child labour was found by ILO, and 174 countries ratified ‘Worst
Forms of Child Labour Convention 182’ in 1999, which focuses on elimination of hazards in
child labour under the age of eighteen. It prohibits all types of jobs such bonded labour,
prostitution pornography, illicit activities, trafficking child soldiers, or jobs which are dangerous
or unhealthy that exposes children to physical, psychological, moral damage, or sexual abuse.
Like working in streets for long hours or begging money. Much of hazardous works are
happening in poor countries, where children lack access to healthcare infrastructure or basic
information on health risks and protective measurements (ILO, 2012; Aqal, 2012; Miller, 2010).
ILO stated that the largest numbers of child labourers are involved in worst forms of child labour
and 115 million children are working in hazardous works and the total number of child workers
in the worst forms is increasing. One of the reasons that Dessy and Pallage(2003) pointed out
was children easily can get the harmful forms of jobs. Usually parents are aware that their
children are involved in unacceptable and harmful jobs, but they are forced to send their children
into Worst-Forms jobs. However poor households do not usually think of the consequences. That
is why the Convention 182 is promoting governments, and civil society organizations' resources
on working against child labour. In recent years the number of child labour in hazardous work
dramatically increased hence the ILOset the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour
by 2016 (Amon et al., 2012; Miller,2010).
3.8 The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)
The United Nations established the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989.
Almost all nations signed the convention but there are three countries; Somalia, South Sudan and
the United States which have not ratiﬁed it yet. As opposed to the ILO Minimum Age
Convention the CRC contains provisions on human rights for children. The CRC consists of 54
articles which are internationally recognized and include civil political, economic, social and
cultural rights widely ratiﬁed in human rights agreement today. CRC makes the state primary
education compulsory and free, and it encourages the development of secondary education,
including vocational training.
There are five provisions in CRC which support child labour. The definition of child that CRC
defines in (Article 1) is a person who is under the age of eighteen. (Article 19) Children need
protection from violence and exploitation (Article 28), children need protection from sexual
exploitation and abuse. (Articles 32) every child should be protected from work exploitation and
from hazardous jobs which hinder children’s education, or harm their health and development.
(Article 34) mentions all children have the right to access primary education and in (Article 34),
a child has right to be protected from all forms of exploitation (Article 36) (Aqil, 2102).
The United Nations (UN) adopted the Millennium Declaration on year 2000. The aim of the
Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is to achieve eight
goals by 2015; 1) Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger 2) Achieve universal primary education
3)Promote gender equality and empower women4) Reduce child mortality5) Improve maternal
health 6). Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases7). Ensure environmental sustainability
8) Develop a global partnership for development (Rena,2009).
The Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) has greatly
reduced the problem of child labour, for example by the fight against poverty, which forces
children into work. Universal primary education can also help free children from the workforce,
and the promotion of gender equality can reduce discrimination against the education of girls and
lessen the traditional burdens which keep them in their own households. A large number of child
labourers are HIV/AIDS orphaned, so child labour can also be mitigated by reducing HIV/AIDS
deaths ( Okusa, 2008).
3. 9Tackling child labour on International instruments
Many strategies have been developed for the eradication of child labour, some of which are
innovative ideas from international organisations such as International Programme on the
Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) created in 1992 which focuses on protecting children from
exploitative work and promoting free education. IPEC monitors and takes immediate action to
prohibit and eradicate the worst forms of child labour. IPEC cooperates with the governments,
employers and workers. The programme is running in fifteen countries from Eastern Europe,
Asia (Central, South, and Southeast regions), North Africa, and Lebanon (Miller; 2010). Other
partners are also working among the wide network of organizations that combat child labour and
includes government agencies, international agencies and some non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) working towards combating child labour and advocate children’s right such as
International Save the Children Alliance (ISCA) established in 1919, Anti-Slavery International
and Global March Against Child Labour found in 1998 (Weston; 2005).
Governments of countries all over the world have different policies and programmes across
borders to directly or indirectly combat child labour menace, example of this is the Cash Transfer
Programme; today many countries have conditional cash transfer programmes which promote
cash deposit as a relief to poor families, such as Bolsa Escola, the Brazilian Child Labor
Eradication Program (PETI), Mexican Program for Education, Health and Nutrition
(PROGRESA), Bangladesh’s Food-for-Education (FFE) program. One of the biggest
programmes is Bolsa Escola; which is an anti-poverty program of the Brazilian government; The
Bolsa programme was implemented in 1990s .The aim of the program is to break the poverty
cycle, rising and improving educational attainment and combating child labour. The program
provides several forms of subsidies such as educational stipend and food supplement support.
The program has increased while dropout rates have decreased (Sakurai,2006). Studies suggest
the disadvantage of cash transfer programmes in low-income countries is that these programmes
are less helpful at combating child labour than they are at increasing schooling. While other
studies suggest these programmes rises in