Child labour in Myanmar

Data indicates that 1.1 million 5- to 17-year-olds are trapped in child labour in Myanmar. One in every 11 children is deprived of their childhood, health and education.

Just over half of these children suffer hazardous conditions that could result in illness, injury, disability, psychological damage, or even death.

Yet, progress is being made. Myanmar has now ratified both International Conventions on child labour, and the ILO’s on-the-ground projects have reduced child labour by 55 per cent and hazardous child labour by 51 per cent over three years in beneficiary communities.

As more and more children escape child labour, they, their families, communities and country are able to reach their full potential.

We are working with partners at every level — from the village to the global stage — to boost compliance with international standards, strengthen capacity, implement local initiatives and advocate for change.

Together, we can eliminate child labour in Myanmar.

Facts and figures

  • Globally, there are 152 million children aged 5 to 17 in child labour. 62 million (41 per cent) of these children are in Asia and the Pacific.
  • In Myanmar, 1.1 million 5- to 17-year-olds are trapped in child labour.
  • 53 per cent are boys and 47 per cent are girls. However, girls tend to bear a larger burden of chores, with around 90 per cent of girls aged 5-11 spending at least one hour a week on household tasks, compared to 34 per cent of boys.
  • Around half of the children in child labour in Myanmar — 73 million — perform hazardous work.
  • In Myanmar, child labour is concentrated primarily in agriculture (61 per cent), manufacturing (12 per cent) and trade (11 per cent). There are higher incidences of child labour in rural areas.
  • Long hours are a serious problem. In Myanmar, a quarter of child labourers aged 12 to 17 work 60 hours or more per week.
Source: Myanmar Labour Force Survey and Global Estimates of Child Labour.

What is child labour?

There is work that children can do to help their families that is not exploitative. However, the term ‘child labour’ is defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to their development.

In Myanmar, school is mandatory until 14 and - as per the new Child Rights Law - no child under 14 years is legally permitted to work. Hazardous work is also prohibited for anyone under 18-years-old.

Find out more

In their own words

The ILO partners with PhotoDoc to train young people and emerging journalists in documentary skills, enabling them to tell the stories of child labourers in Myanmar – their struggles, as well as their strength and dreams. Watch the short videos below for firsthand insight into the issues.