Child Labour

A weekend job for extra pocket money might be fun – but what about working in a dangerous factory, heaving rocks for hours without resting, or digging in stinking rubbish for scraps to sell?

Millions of children have to work like this every day.


Child labour involves very young people in full-time, often dangerous work. It is thought to affect one in six children around the world. Areas of work includes farms, factories, building sites, dumps and mines.

Ten-year old Zareen is a rubbish picker in Afghanistan:

“I scavenge the garbage dump for things to sell. I have scars on my feet and hands from glass and sharp metal. Sometimes, I choke on the fumes from chemicals. But I have to work there all day as I get paid almost nothing, just enough food to survive.”


More than 190 countries have agreed to protect children by signing The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Part of the agreement sets down rules against harmful work. This includes:

“The right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.”

For the millions involved in child labour, these rights are brutally ignored.


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