Tracking Child Labour

Sujay Sarkar

As per definition, Child Labor refers to “The employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally harmful “.

According to the International Labor Organization;ILO ( C 138 ) OF 1973, “Child labor refers to any work performed by children under the age of 12, non-light work done by children aged 12-14 and hazardous work done by children aged 15-17.Light work was defined under this Convention as any work that does not harm a child’s health and development and that does not interfere with his or her attendance at school “. This Convention has been ratified by 135 countries. Read More…

The United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, which was subsequently ratified by 193 countries. Article 32 of the Convention addressed Child Labor, as follows – “ “ Parties recognizes the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development “.

Child Labor was employed to varying extends through most of history. These children worked in agriculture, home based assembly operations, factories, mining and in series such as newies. Some worked night shifts lasting 12 hours. With the rise of household income, availability of school opportunity, child labor is still prevalent. Worldwide agriculture is the largest employer of child labor. Vast majority of child labor is found in rural settings and informal urban economy, children are predominantly employed by the parents, rather than factories. The incidence of child labor in the world decreased from 25% to 10% between 1960 and 2003, according to World Bank. Nevertheless the total nos. of child labor remain high with both UNICEF and ILO, acknowledging an estimated 168 million children aged 5-17 worldwide were involved in child labor in 2013.

Causes of Child Labor :

Child Labor situation in South Asia :

Based on officially available statistics, it is estimated that there are 21.6 million children aged between 5 & 14 years are working in South Asia out of total of 300 million children in this age group. The factors that generate child labor in South Asia include parental poverty & illiteracy, social & economic circumstances, lack of awareness, lack of access to basic & meaningful quality education & skills and high rates of adult unemployment & under-employment. Attitude towards child labor also plays an important role. In South Asia children are perceived as adult as early as 10 years old in some countries. There is a great deal of commonality in the forms of child labor in South Asia, most notably in the areas of :

1) Overview of Child Labour in South Asia: This gives a snapshot of the problem in the region:

2)Child Labor indulged in carpet weaving in South Asia:

Estimated 215 million engaged in child labour in the age 5-17yrs.India accounting for 12% of child labour in age 5-14%.$760bn would cost to end child labor over a period of 20yrs….

3)Asian Pacific Human rights information center: Child labor in South Asia – A Review.

Worst form of Child labor in Asia. Gains and challenges in action in the region….

4)Child Labor in South Asia : Modern day Slavery- This talks about conditions of entrapped child labors and emancipation proclamation….

5)Child Slaves of South Asia: Fighting Slavery today :

This gives an exposition of the pathetic situation faced by child and their parents after giving false promises by touts….

6)“Poverty and caste” fueling child labor in South Asia:

The article talks about the dire situation for child laborers in South Asia. Widespread practices in India and reasons behind have been discussed. Nobel Prize given to Kailash Satyarthi and it’s significance….

7) Child Labor in South Asia: OECD / Social, Employment & Migration working papers – Eric V. Elmond.

Aim is to better understand child labour in South Asia through in-depth case studies of child labour experience-Nepal,Pakistan & Vietnam. Discussion of child labour needs to consider wage work as well as unpaid work including household production activities….

8) Sweatshops and child labor:

In general, a sweatshop can be described as a workplace where workers are subject to extreme exploitation, including the absence of a living wage or benefits, poor working conditions, and arbitrary discipline, such as verbal and physical abuse….

9) Child Slave Labor: A problem being ignored – by Michelle Frauenhein

Viewing Child Labor intricately and various Union /Organisations work….

10)Cyberpolice / Article: Facts about Child Abuse / Author: Gloworm .

Child labor in Asia/Latin America & Africa in terms of area/ figures/exploitation….

11) Counter punch – Support Independent Investigation Journalism.

Commemorate Universal Children’s Day. Child Labor in US and action taken by it’s company. Work done by Nobel Prize winners. Steps taken by some countries to reduce Child Labor….

12) Protection of Children from violence, abuse & exploitation : Issues

Issues related to child’s protection risk & violations.Fundamental human right of Birth registration.Improved situation after adoption of CRC….


ILO Convention 182-to protect children from economic exploitation….

14)Child Labor & WTO Rules:

Survey of the Issues with reference to South Asia – Kishore Sharma.

15)A Growing concern : Modern slavery & agriculture production in Brazil & South Asia.

Inequity and poverty are implicit in Brazil & South Asia, and debt is a tool used to legitimize bondage in production of Agriculture. Slavery a deeply entrenched facet of agricultural production in the country.

Microfinance programs for poor laborers.Annotations Bibliography of various articles….

16) U nderstanding Bonded Child Labor in Asia – An Introduction to the nature of the problem & how to address.

Causes / Impact/Overview of bonded Child Labor.Legal Instruments/Instruments/Challenges in addressing bonded child labor. Aim of Child Workers in Asia(CWA)….

17) T ED Case Study / NIKE : Nike Shoes & Child Labor in Pakistan.

Nike in order to increase it’s margins makes its equipment in developing countries where child labor is involved….

18) The Nike Controversy – by Malt Wilsey, Scott Lichtig.

Nike was attacked ceaselessly and strict recommendations were made to improve conditions. Nike’s reasons for moving factories out of the United States and into mainly third world countries in Asia. Recommendations given to Nike to deal with the problem and it’s response….

19) Ch ild Labor in South Asia – Edited by Gamini Herath & Kishore Sharma.

Analysis and comprehension of Child Labor issues. Strategies for prevention of Child labor &Ways of eradicating it….

20) T he South Asian Report – On the Child – friendliness of government.

Learn more about the many wonderful initiatives and efforts underway in South

Asia by different agencies, partners and individuals to secure the rights of children. Achievements and challenges in the region, and formulating recommendations for the future….

21) Gl obalization & child labor situation in South Asia – Imran Naseem.

Globalization should be beneficial in the long term. Globalization should reduce the incidence of child labor in developing countries in the long run….

22) CUTS – Research report / Child Labor in South Asia – Are Trade sanctions the answer.

Emergence of labour standards in the multi-lateral regime. Also highlighted are the estimates on and causes of, child labour. At the same time, it makes some useful recommendations on how the issue of child labour can be addressed best at the domestic as well as international level….

23) ILO : Child Labor & responses in South Asia

This review focuses on national legislation and polices relating to child labour, government policies and programmes as well as IPEC interventions specific to each country….

24) Child Labor in South Asia

An estimated 168 million children worldwide are in child labour, accounting for almost 11 per cent of the child population (5-17 years old). The largest number of child labourers is in the Asia and the Pacific region….

25) Past, Present & future : Child Labor and the inter-generational transmission of poverty.

The concept of chronic poverty refers to the extended duration of deprivation and hence to some of the more deeply entrenched structures which give rise to poverty. The failure to invest in the ‘human capital’ of children would appear to have a particular relevance to the intergenerational transmission of poverty….

26) Final Report : Child labor in Wheat Straw & recycled paper supply chains / SEBCON / Pakistan.

Increased levels of urbanization and accompanying rising levels of cost of production emphasized on recycling of waste. the present study focused on identifying and locating the prevalence of child labor in waste paper recycling and wheat straw collection in Pakistan….

27) Deprivation, discrimination & delivery : competing explanations for child labor & educational failure in South Asia – Naila Kabeer.

The high incidence of both child labor and out-of-school children in South Asian region has given rise to competing explanations.Problems are exacerbated when poverty combines with other from of disadvantages,such as caste,gender,ethnicity and livelihood insecurity….

28) The Subterranean Child Labor force : Subcontracted home based manufacturing in Asia – Mehrotra & Mario Biggeri ( Unicef ).

International trade negotiators brought child labour on to the trade agenda as a ‘new issue’, linking labour standards to further market access in industrialized countries. Programmes and projects to address the problem of child labor multiplied, as did funds from bilateral and multilateral agencies….

29) Child work & schooling costs in Rural Northern India – Gautam Hazarika & Arjun S.Bedi (May 2006).

Four reasons for the objectionability of child labour. By one view, poverty is the main reason for child labour. By an alternate view, social and cultural norms are at least as responsible as poverty for child labour and low school enrollment….

B) Books Published/Books under Publication/ Research Projects completed/Papers Published in Books and Journals/Seminars / Workshops Organized/Conference Attended Papers Presented (Outside Country)/ Honorary Membership of Academic Institutions and NGOs….

30) Don Bosco Child Labor Mission – To educate & rehabilitate child labors.

DBCLM recognizes that the phenomenon of child laboureres is a distressing reality caused by illiteracy and other social evils. Through its preventive and curative approach DBCLM envisages a society free from Child Labour.

31) Child Labor numbers – missing the real story by Shailey Hingorani.

The NCPR report brings attention to the very definition of child labour, which needs to be as inclusive as possible, for us to be able to properly account for the extent of child labour in the country.

32) Exploitative work – Child Labor / An annotated Bibliography of research & related literature ( 1998-2003).

One of the main functions of the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre is knowledge

management and information sharing. The UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre is in the process of developing an extensive publications programme in the form of an International Encyclopaedia of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)….

33) Those that be in bondage : Child Labor & IMF Strategy in India .

The Contemporary Emergence of the Problem of Child Labor and its Gravity. Extent of Child Labor in India. Child Labor in India and the US Response. The NRI’s and their Grief….

34) SAARC bid to combat child labor in South Asia / Katmandu.

The Saarc apex body for children entered into a partnership on Tuesday to promote children’s rights in South Asia. The agreement aims to reinforce the organisations’ work on child rights and child protection by improving cooperation.

35) Meet the New Heroes – Kailash Satyarthi.

Kailash Satyarthi has saved tens of thousands of lives. Since its inception, SACCS and its partners have liberated nearly 40000 bonded laborers….

36) SAAGN – South Asian Alliance of grassroots NGOS- Child rights.

Child Labour, Children working in hazardous industries/as domestic labour….

37) Caste discrimination, child labor and the Noble prize.

Caste discrimination is a key factor behind child labour in India, home to the highest number of child labourers in the world. This issue has again been raised in global media and in expert statements….

38) Forms of child labor found in Asia.

Bonded child labour is extensively rooted in socio-cultural and political structures in parts of South Asia…

39) Debating on Child Labor – by Mario Dupont / 9th Aug2010.

UNICEF defines child labor as, “work that exceeds a minimum number of hours, depending on the age of a child and on the type of work. The pros and cons of this complicated and hot debate, which keeps dividing child protection associations….

40) Child labor in South Asia : A case study in Bangladesh –Vir Narayan.

The concept of child labour is economically unsound, psychologically disastrous, physically as well as morally dangerous and harmful. According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), out of a total of 22829 households surveyed in 1995-96, 15992 i.e. 69.7 per cent reported as having working children between the age of 5-14 years….

41) Children of Industry : South Asia’s child labor dilemma .

Jeremy Seabrook cautions in his September piece in the New Internationalist. The longtime reporter on poverty in South Asia investigated the roots of child labor in Bangladesh for the article, discovering how landlessness, migration, and rural impoverishment are enmeshed with the hemorrhaging of rural children to the garment factories of Dhaka….

42) Child labor & subcontracted home based manufacturing in low and middle income Asian’s – Santosh Mehrotra & Mario Biggeri.

Home based work in manufacturing can easily lead to the employment of child

labour especially when the head of the household procures the raw materials from a

contractor or an employer and performs the work at his home with family labour….

43) Child Labor & tourism – Emilie Hagedoorn.

International Labour Organisation (ILO) figures of 13 to 19 million children working in the formal tourism industry, it is clear that the likelihood of them unknowingly benefitting from child labour is high. Understand and identify some of the options that are available to travel companies in the fight against child labour using Intrepid as a case study….

44) Impact of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme on Child Labor

MGNREGA,is such a policy intervention that has immense potential for transforming the lives of impoverished and socially excluded families and children. It is particularly significant as it prohibits the employment of children below the age of 18 years in any work under the scheme….

45) Child Labor or child care by Mohammad Sadaat Bukht.

46) Deprivation, discrimination & delivery : competing explanations for child labor & education failure in South Asia – Naila Kabeer .

The high incidence of both child labour and out-of-school children in the South Asian region has given rise to competing explanations. The paper identifies a number of programmatic interventions which might achieve similar results but at the micro-level and in the short-run….

47) Child Labor & the roles of the multinationals – by Ehsam Ullah Khan.

In the South Asian Countries there are three different types of child labour. the paper identifies a number of programmatic interventions which might achieve similar results but at the micro-level and in the short-run.

48) IKEA does not accept child labor – IKEA.

IKEA has a special code of conduct called The IKEA Way on Preventing Child Labour. IKEA holds workshops at suppliers to encourage workers and sub-contractors to discuss problems that they encounter on an everyday basis….

49) Report on World day against Child Labor 2014.

The World Day Against Child Labour is commemorated every year on 12thJune to draw World’s attention to the plight of millions of children around the world who are exploited by child labour….

50) Book / Child Labor & the Right to education in South Asia : Needs versus Rights / Handcover-Naila Kabeer / Child Labor in South Asia – by Gamini Herath & Kishore Sharma.

This is a highly informative text and will be valuable to those interested in the issues of child labour. It is also valuable in the context of debates about children’s rights and the construction of childhood…

51) Journal of Pakistan / Medical Ass.( JPMA )/ Child labor – A public health issue.

Child labour is a global practice and has many negative outcomes.This article analyzes the determinants of child labour in the Pakistani context and its implications for child’s life, in specific, and for the nation, in general…

52) Role of Kailash Satyarthi in eradicating child labor – IOSR.

Kailash Satyarthi, a human rights activist from India who has been at the forefront of the global movement to end child slavery and exploitative child labor since 1981, is “If not now, then when? If not you, then who?”….

53) Child labor & exploitation in Bangladesh.

According to Anti-Slavery International, bonded labour – or debt bondage – may be the least known form of slavery, yet it is the most widely used method of enslaving people. Over the last decade thousands of Bangladeshi girls were lured under false circumstances and sold into the sex industries in different countries including Bangladesh….

54) Child Labor in India – Problems in conceptualization – Suresh Babu GS.



55) Law to combat child labor in India – Research paper – Shakti Kumar.



56) Child Slave Market in India / The Times of India / 7th Dec.1999

The problem of exploitation of labor in general and child labor and even slavery is getting worse in the developing countries. Social costs of child labor are enormous but can not be quantified. Child slaves are to be found in agriculture, domestic help, sex industry, carpet and textile industries, quarrying and brick making….

57) Activist Nobel Prize win heightens debate over child labor in India – Kailash Satyarthi / Khabar South Asia / New Delhi / 27th 2014.

Kailash Satyarthi battles legal and cultural obstacles to eliminate the practice….

58) Third World Traveller – Calloused consciences, the limited challenge to child labor / Dollar and sense magazine / Sept.-Oct 1999.

President Clinton stood before the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Geneva and declared that “we must wipe from the Earth the most vicious forms of abusive child labor. We must not a human face on the global economy, giving working people everywhere a stake in its success.”….

59) Indian Circus child labor ban to be enforced / BBC News / South Asia / 18th April 2011.

India’s Supreme Court has ordered circuses to stop employing children and instructed the government to rescue and rehabilitate working minors….

60) Labor laws fail to protect India’s children / ALJAZEERA / 21st Nov.2014.

Twenty-five years after UN outlined universal labour laws, India still home to 13 million child workers under age of 14….

61) Free the children : the story of Craig Kielburger / Yes ! Magazine / 30th Sept.1999.

One 12 year-old-kid – what could he possibly do on behalf of children his age half a world away? Take on his own prime minister, for a start.

62) Kailash Satyarthi – Man who led movement against child labor / The Indian Express / New Delhi / 10th Oct.2014.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi gave up his job as an electrical engineer to dedicate himself to protecting and advancing child rights for over three decades now, freeing 80,000 child labourers and giving them new hope in life. It is largely due to his doggedness and zeal that NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan has emerged as by far the most prominent child rights group in the country….


Image: Flickr  via wagnertc

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