Asia Regional Child Labour Programme (ARC)

The Asia Regional Child Labour Programme (ARC) aims to reduce vulnerability to child labour and enhance protection of children from exploitation in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Myanmar and Pakistan to contribute to the eradication of child labour, particularly its worst forms.

Project Background:

There are 62 million children in child labour in the Asia-Pacific Region, accounting for 7% of the population of children, according to the 2017 Global Estimates on Child Labour. Twenty-eight million of them are in hazardous work, mostly in agriculture (57.5%) but also in mining, brick-making and domestic work. The involvement of children in the other worst forms of child labour (WFCL) such as in forced labour and trafficking, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) and armed conflict also exists.

The ARC Programme is designed to step up the eradication of child labour, particularly its worst forms, in Asia and contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 by 2025. ILO is implementing this Programme along with UNICEF and the Institute for Development Studies (IDS). ILO’s work will build upon its long history of combatting child labour in the Region, particularly in South Asia, by mainstreaming this agenda into broader socio-economic policies and involving tripartite constituents at the national, provincial and local levels. It will be guided by ILO’s Integrated Strategy on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW) which calls for a four-pronged theory of change that consists of: Public Policies and Governance, Knowledge and Data, Empowerment and Protection, and Partnerships and Advocacy.

The Programme will combine research, both through surveys and qualitative studies, and the piloting of interventions using the integrated area-based approach towards the creation of child labour-free zones, including improvement of law enforcement and enhancement of public awareness. It will work with governments to ensure that policies on child labour are aligned with relevant ILO conventions and build their capacities to strengthen implementation of national and local Plans of Action against child labour.

Additionally, the Programme will facilitate the setting up of child labour monitoring systems combined with the convergent delivery of social protection services for families vulnerable to child labour. As informality is widespread in the countries covered by the programme, the labour inspection mechanisms will also be strengthened to intervene in informal workplaces along with building the capacities of trade unions and employers’ organisations.

Programme Objective:

The ARC Programme will work with ILO’s constituents and other stakeholders in the six countries towards the following objectives:
  • building a credible knowledge base on the causes and drivers of child labour and effective interventions to address them;
  • aligning legislation and policies with international conventions on child labour, forced labour and trafficking in persons and enforcing and implementing them; and
  • developing and applying a holistic approach to eradicating child labour, particularly its worst forms, in selected regions of each country.

Implementing partners:

  • UNICEF
  • Institute for Development Studies (IDS)
  • National, State and local Governments
  • Employers’ organizations
  • Workers’ organizations
  • Supply chain actors
  • Academia and Civil society organizations

Target beneficiaries:

The ARC Programme will build the capacities of governments, trade unions and employers’ organizations in the six countries to accelerate action against child labour in the areas of knowledge-generation and sharing, policy enhancement and strengthened implementation, and integrated delivery of services. While reaching out to child labourers and their families at large, it will have a special focus on female-headed households, seasonal migrants, religious and ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, internally displaced persons, refugees and returnee migrants.

For further information please contact:

Mr. Giovanni Soledad
Chief Technical Adviser
Email: soledad@ilo.org

Mr. Lakshmi Narasimhan Gadiraju
National Project Coordinator - India
Email: gadiraju@ilo.org