World Day Against Child Labour June 12, 2013: No to child labour in domestic work!

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are calling for special attention to child domestic workers on the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour on 12 June this year.

Press release | 12 June 2013
HANOI (ILO News) – The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are calling for special attention to child domestic workers on the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour on 12 June this year.

Viet Nam has not yet had official data in child domestic work but according to the latest National Population and Housing Census, some 7.1 per cent of domestic workers in Viet Nam are under 18 of age. A 2011 domestic worker study conducted by MoLISA and ILO in Viet Nam’s two biggest cities of Hanoi and HCM City also indicates that 17.3 per cent of surveyed domestic workers started their job before 18 year old.

“We can see from the reality that the number of child domestic workers tends to be on the rise for a number of reasons – the awareness of families and the whole society, poverty, poor children dropping out of school thus having very few choices for jobs, the increasing demand for domestic workers in urban households to take care of old people and housework,” said Vice Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Doan Mau Diep.

The Labour Code allows children from 15 of age to work as domestic workers if the job is light, suitable for their age, working hours are not too long and do not affect their education, and that the working environment and working conditions do not harm their physical and mental development.

ILO Viet Nam Country Director Gyorgy Sziraczki, however, said: “Since their work is often hidden from the public eye, child domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and abuse.”

“It’s time to identify hazardous elements of domestic work and to prohibit such work for children under 18 of age!” he added.

According to Mr Diep, the fight against child labour, particularly the worst forms of child labour, requires the participation of every family, community, organization, sector and the whole society.

With ILO cooperation, Viet Nam has been implementing a number of projects dealing with early child labour – researching the situation and causes of child labour, working out the national programme on the elimination of the worst forms of child labour which focuses on the prevention, early intervention, saving the children from hazardous work and supporting them to re-integrate into the community.

Representing a major international donor in the fight against child labour in Viet Nam, Spanish Ambassador Alfonso Tena believed “one important way to contribute to the prevention and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, and child labour in domestic work in particular, is through awareness raising activities, to change the perception of the society.”

The ILO estimates that 15.5 million children around the world are engaged in paid or unpaid domestic work in the home of a third party or employer. The vast majority of all child domestic workers are girls and more than half of them are found in hazardous child domestic work.

In 2011, the ILO adopted new international standards promoting decent work for domestic workers. The Convention No. 189 provides clear guidance on how to avoid child labour and to protect domestic workers, including young workers legally employed in domestic work, which is essential for eliminating child labour in this sector.



On the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour (12 June 2013), the Youth Theatre premiered the play “Mum, I’m growing up” on 11 June in Hanoi with ILO support. The drama, directed by Si Tien, highlighted the fate of a child domestic worker who had to drop out of school and work for an urban family.

The play was expected to transform social attitudes and to address the acceptance of child labour in domestic work in Viet Nam.