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 arearound 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