Country survey

One in ten Vietnamese youngsters aged 5-17 in child labour

The first national data show that 1.75 million Vietnamese children are child workers. The rate of child labour in Viet Nam is lower than the world's average and very close to the regional figure.

News | 14 March 2014
© ILO/Nguyen The Duc
HANOI (ILO News) – An estimated 9.6 per cent of children aged 5-17 in Viet Nam are child labourers, showed the main findings from the first National Child Labour Survey launched in Hanoi on 14 March.

There are 1.75 million Vietnamese children, with two in every five of them under 15 of age, working in situations that fit the definition of child labour adopted for this report. That is work undertaken by children below the appropriate legal minimum working age set by Viet Nam’s national laws and the International Labour Organization’s (ILO’s) guidelines.

Most child labourers live in the countryside, work in agriculture and are unpaid family workers.

Carried out in 2012, the survey indicated that about one-third of the child labourers, or nearly 569,000 children, have to work an average of more than 42 hours per week. Working long hours affects their schooling as most of them do not attend school.

“The number of children in special circumstances, including early working children is a challenge,” said Vice Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Doan Mau Diep. “Viet Nam has been doing our best to take preventive measures and interventions to protect those children and create a healthy environment for every child.”

The concept of child labour does not cover all working children. As households stills play a big role in the economy and the labour forces remain underdeveloped in Viet Nam, the Government allows children of some certain age groups to do some types of work with certain amount of time that does not affect their health, schooling and development.

According to the national survey, one in every six Vietnamese children is engaged in economic activities, with more boys working than girls. About one-third of the working children work due to necessity and one-fourth choose to work because of high payment.

“Child labour should be eliminated as it deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and is harmful to physical and mental development,” ILO Viet Nam Country Director, Gyorgy Sziraczki, said. “This is a process which takes time. By having the first national data on child labour, in addition to education laws that specify compulsory secondary education, Viet Nam is showing its determination to fight child labour, especially its worst forms.”

Lower than world’s average

The rate of child labour in Viet Nam is lower than the world’s average and very close to the regional figure.

The latest ILO report Global Child Labour Trends estimated for 2012 that 168 million children aged 5-17 worldwide are child labourers, accounting for about 10.6 per cent of the child population. The rate is 9.3 per cent for Asia and the Pacific.

The Viet Nam National Child Labour Survey 2012 is the first one of its kind for the country. With ILO technical support, the survey of 50,640 households was carried out by the General Statistical Office and the report was prepared by the Institute for Labour Sciences and Social Affairs.

Click here for the report.