Child migrants in child labour: An invisible group in need of attention - A study based on child helpline case records

In the lead up to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child holding its 2012 Day of General Discussion on “The rights of all children in the context of International Migration”, ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) and Child Helpline International (CHI) joined forces to shed light on the situation of migrant children in child labour, resulting in a report entitled “Child migrants in child labour: An invisible group in need of attention - A study based on child helpline case records”.


The number of children on the move is higher than it has ever been. Yet due to a lack of information and focus, these children are largely invisible. While the dangers faced by migrant children are not difficult to envision, little quantitative and qualitative analysis has been done on the unique circumstances of migrant child labourers. To fill this gap, IPEC, in cooperation with Child Helpline International (CHI), embarked on a joint effort to analyse cases of child labour, as reported to national child helplines in Kenya, Nepal, and Peru.

Over four hundred recorded child labour cases were individually reviewed, according to type of work performed, hours worked, payment, work hazards, violence, bondage, living conditions, and school attendance. Noticeable patterns emerged across the three countries surveyed, suggesting that in a variety of areas migrant children are worse off in child labour compared to non-migrants. The findings emphasize the need for social policies to include attention to migrant child labourers. In the conclusion section the report offers a number of pertinent recommendations to address the situation of migrant children in child labour.