Worst forms of child labour
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Worst forms of child labour

Whilst child labour takes many different forms, a priority is to eliminate without delay the worst forms of child labour as defined by Article 3 of ILO Convention No. 182:

(a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict;
(b)
the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances;
(c)
the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties;
(d)
work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.

Labour that jeopardises the physical, mental or moral well-being of a child, either because of its nature or because of the conditions in which it is carried out, is known as “hazardous work”.1

Guidance for governments on some hazardous child labour activities which should be prohibited is given in the accompanying ILO Recommendation No. 190 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination Worst Forms of Child Labour 1999:

(3) In determining the types of work referred to under Article 3(d) of the Convention, and in identifying where they exist, consideration should be given, inter alia, to:
(a)
work which exposes children to physical, psychological or sexual abuse;
(b)
work underground, under water, at dangerous heights or in confined spaces;
(c)
work with dangerous machinery, equipment and tools, or which involves the manual handling or transport of heavy loads;
(d)
work in an unhealthy environment which may, for example, expose children to hazardous substances, agents or processes, or to temperatures, noise levels, or vibrations damaging to their health;
(e)
work under particularly difficult conditions such as work for long hours or during the night or work where the child is unreasonably confined to the premises of the employer.

1 ILO: A future without child labour, Global Report under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights and Work (Geneva, 2002).

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