27 June 2024

What is child labour?

Overview | FAQs | Data | What we do Economic hardship exacts a toll on millions of families worldwide – and in some places, it comes at the price of a child’s protection. Roughly 160 million children were subjected to child labour at the beginning of 2020. This accounts for nearly 1 in 10 children worldwide. Almost half of them are in hazardous…, What is child labour?, Child labour refers to work that children are too young to perform or that – by its nature or circumstances – can be hazardous. Unlike activities that help children develop (such as contributing to light housework or taking on a job during school holidays), child labour causes harm to a child’s health, safety or moral development. In its most…, What kind of work is considered hazardous?, Hazardous work refers to work that, by its nature or circumstances, is likely to harm children’s health, safety or moral development. This includes anything that exposes children to physical, emotional or sexual abuse.  It’s work that occurs underground, underwater, at treacherous heights or in confined spaces – often with dangerous machinery,…, How common is child labour?, Child labour remains a persistent problem in the world today. The latest global estimates indicate that some 160 million children were engaged in child labour at the beginning of 2020 – accounting for nearly 1 in 10 children globally. Nearly half of all children engaged in child labour – 79 million – are in hazardous work that directly endangers…, Where is child labour on the rise?, Global progress against child labour has recently stagnated: The proportion of children in child labour remained roughly unchanged since data were collected in 2016. Similarly, the percentage of children in hazardous work has also persisted. But global estimates mask large variations across regions. In both Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America…, Are boys and girls subjected to different kinds of child labour?, Globally, involvement in child labour is more common for boys than girls at all age groups. Boys are more prone than girls to work in construction, mining and manufacturing, while girls in child labour tend to be in services, including domestic work. Roughly 63 million girls and 97 million boys worldwide are estimated to be in child labour,…, What forms of child labour are most common?, Most child labour – for boys and girls alike – continues to occur in agriculture. Some 70% of the children engaged in child labour worldwide are working on farms or in other agricultural activities. Many of them are young children. Another common trend is the share of child labour occurring within families. Around 72% of child labour takes place…, What are the greatest risks associated with child labour?, No matter where or how it occurs, child labour restricts children from their most fundamental rights. Many children driven into labour are cut off from schooling and health care – often at the time they need it most. In farming, children are regularly exposed to dangerous chemicals and machinery, and forced to undergo strenuous tasks for long…, Why does child labour occur?, Children may be driven into work for various reasons. Most often, child labour occurs when families face financial challenges or uncertainty – whether due to poverty, sudden illness of a caregiver, or job loss of a primary wage earner. Migrant and refugee children – many of whom have been uprooted by conflict, disaster or poverty – also risk being…, Is the world on track to eliminate child labour?, The world is not yet on track to eliminate this child rights violation. Without accelerated action, a projected 125 million children will be in child labour in 2030, our collective deadline to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals., What is UNICEF doing to stop child labour?, UNICEF works to prevent and respond to child labour, especially by strengthening the social service workforce . Social service workers play a key role in recognizing, preventing and managing risks that can lead to child labour. Our efforts develop and support the workforce to respond to potential situations of child labour through case management…, Learn more about child labour