This story was written by the ILO Newsroom For official ILO statements and speeches, please visit our “Statements and Speeches” section.


More than 1.3 million child labourers in Yemen

A survey shows that 17 per cent of Yemen’s 7.7 million children aged 5-17 are child labourers, most of them performing unpaid work.

News | 15 January 2013
SANAA, Yemen (ILO News) – More than 1.3 million children in Yemen are involved in child labour, including 469,000in the 5-11 age group, a new study shows.

This means 17 per cent of Yemen’s 7.7 million children in the 5-17 age group and 11 per cent of those aged 5-11 are involved in child labour, according to Yemen’s first-ever national child labour survey, which was carried out with support from the ILO, the Social Development Fund and UNICEF.

The protection of Yemen’s children must be a priority for the international community. Yemen’s development depends on it.”
Yemen has ratified the two key ILO conventions on child labour (Convention No. 138 on Minimum Age and Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour) accepting that 14 is the minimum age for employment and recognizing that children under the age of 18 cannot be employed in hazardous work.

The study defines as child labourers anyone under the age of 14 who is employed, and those in the 14-17 age group who work more than 30 hours a week, or are involved in any designated hazardous economic activities and occupations.

“The survey reveals the alarming extent to which Yemeni children are deprived of their rights,” said ILO Regional Director for the Arab States, Nada al-Nashif. “The protection of Yemen’s children must be a priority for the international community. Yemen’s development depends on it.”

In addition to the 1.3 million child labourers, more than 300,000 children aged 14 to 17work in conditions and activities considered suitable for their age.

The report says that working children and child labourers are far more likely than others not to attend school or to drop out of school.

It also stresses that widespread poverty, population pressure, political instability and limited opportunities for employment outside agriculture impact the livelihoods of children in Yemen.

A majority of countries have adopted legislation to prohibit or place severe restrictions on the employment and work of children. In spite of these efforts, child labour continues to exist on a massive scale, sometimes in appalling conditions, particularly in the developing world, according to the ILO’s National Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).

Prevalence of employment by age

For more information contact:

Ali Dehaq – ILO National Coordinator in Yemen:
Mobile: +967 711 353 437

For media queries contact:

Farah Dakhlallah – Regional Communication & Public Information Officer:
Mobile: +961 71 50 59 58