Child labour is a complex problem with many causes. While family poverty is often cited as the single most important factor pushing children into the workforce, numerous others come into play as well. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the AIDS pandemic has been particularly hard on children. Millions have been orphaned and forced to work to survive, while others have had to give up education to work in order to support sick parents. In addition, the loss of teachers to the disease has put pressure on already fragile school systems.
Whether a child is a boy or a girl can also determine at what age they are sent to work and in which particular occupation. The children who work or are at greatest risk for becoming child labourers vary from culture to culture and region to region. Gender differences also may affect a child’s access to education and assistance. IPEC consider s these and many other issues that influence child labour in developing and carrying out action to eliminate it.