Eliminating child labour is an important facet of the ILO's work. Child labour not only prevents children from acquiring the skills and education they need for a better future, it also perpetuates poverty and affects national economies through losses in competitiveness, productivity and potential income. Withdrawing children from child labour, providing them with education and assisting their families with training and employment opportunities contribute directly to creating decent work for adults.
The UN General Assembly has urged the international community to step up efforts to eradicate forced labour and child labour, and declared 2021 as the Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.
World Day Against Child Labour - 12 June 2019
This year, the World Day Against Child Labour will look back on progress achieved over a 100 years of ILO support to countries on tackling child labour.
Learn more about what is child domestic work and what does constitute child labour in domestic work?
The website allows users to delve into a broad range of multimedia content on particular themes, such as child labour, forced labour, collective bargaining and discrimination in the workplace.
Building on the new momentum created by the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Alliance 8.7 brings together all interested parties to join forces in achieving Target 8.7 aiming at a world without forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour.
Facts and figures
- Worldwide 218 million children between 5 and 17 years are in employment.
Among them, 152 million are victims of child labour; almost half of them, 73 million, work in hazardous child labour.
- In absolute terms, almost half of child labour (72.1 million) is to be found in Africa; 62.1 million in the Asia and the Pacific; 10.7 million in the Americas; 1.2 million in the Arab States and 5.5 million in Europe and Central Asia.
- In terms of prevalence, 1 in 5 children in Africa (19.6%) are in child labour, whilst prevalence in other regions is between 3% and 7%: 2.9% in the Arab States (1 in 35 children); 4.1% in Europe and Central Asia (1 in 25); 5.3% in the Americas (1 in 19) and 7.4% in Asia and the Pacific region (1 in 14).
- Almost half of all 152 million children victims of child labour are aged 5-11 years.
42 million (28%) are 12-14 years old; and 37 million (24%) are 15-17 years old.
- Hazardous child labour is most prevalent among the 15-17 years old. Nevertheless up to a fourth of all hazardous child labour (19 million) is done by children less than 12 years old.
- Among 152 million children in child labour, 88 million are boys and 64 million are girls.
- 58% of all children in child labour and 62% of all children in hazardous work are boys. Boys appear to face a greater risk of child labour than girls, but this may also be a reflection of an under-reporting of girls’ work, particularly in domestic child labour.
- Child labour is concentrated primarily in agriculture (71%), which includes fishing, forestry, livestock herding and aquaculture, and comprises both subsistence and commercial farming; 17% in Services; and 12% in the Industrial sector, including mining.
Timor-Leste launches its first National Child Labour Survey Report and Mini Labour Force Survey Report 2016
07 October 2019
G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting
01 September 2019
Call for expression of interest
Analysis of the situation and evaluation of the needs of cooperative societies of cotton producers in Burkina Faso for the promotion of fundamental principles and rights at work
15 August 2019
26 July 2019
UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
Accelerating action to end forced labour, human trafficking, modern slavery and child labour; experiences from Alliance 8.7 pathfinder countries
22 July 2019
10 April 2019
Second edition (2018)
10 December 2018
Assessment of the effects of annual drought and floods on child labour (hazardous and non-hazardous) and child welfare in Sri Lanka
30 November 2018
15 August 2018
Child labour in Africa
03 July 2018
A mobile application against child labour
This app allows business managers and auditors to create interactive checklists that will help them ensure a child labour-free operation. There are 18 checkpoints in total, divided into six categories. Each checkpoint provides best-practice recommendations for taking action.