Child Labour Definition

What is classified as Child Labour?


Hours of child labor

In the world, this year

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TheWorldCounts, 08 December, 2014

What is classified as Child Labour?

Child labour is when a person below 15 years of age is doing work that is depriving them of their childhood, their potential and their dignity - when the work is harming their physical and mental development. When a child is forced to leave school or combine schooling and work or when they are getting sick from the kind of work that they do – this is considered child labour.

The most extreme and abhorrent forms of child labor involves child slavery, hard labor, prostitution and mutilation. Most of these children can be found working in the agricultural and textile sectors, factories, mining companies, sweatshops and home-based operations. Companies employ them for their low wages which drives down their operational costs.

Read More: Child Labor in Chocolate Industry

The working condition of child laborers can be subhuman. Some of them are forced to work more than 12 hours a day. Some child prostitutes are forced to participate in sexual acts that permanently ruins their innocence. Most of them are paid a pittance for the long hours of work. One cannot imagine our own children going through the same plight.

The UNICEF defines Child Labour as follows:

“A child is considered to be involved in child labour activities under the following classification:

(a) children 5 to 11 years of age that does at least one hour of economic activity or at least 28 hours of domestic work, and

(b) children 12 to 14 years of age that during the week preceding the survey did at least 14 hours of economic activity or at least 42 hours of economic activity and domestic work combined." (Child labour definition).

What isn’t Child Labour?

A child or adolescent participating in after school activities or work can be a positive thing for their socio and intellectual development. In some countries, farmers allow their kids to help out on their farm doing very minor work or some parents have family businesses where their kids apprentice. As long the work doesn’t interfere with the child’s education and development and it doesn’t harm the child’s health in any way, it cannot be considered child labour.

Does Child Labor Exist Today?

Unfortunately, in spite of the wonderful inventions and leaps in technology and communications, child labour still exists today. You’d be surprised to learn that some of your favorite products are produced by the hands of underpaid and maltreated children. Even with the efforts of non-profit organizations and the government, there are still many children out there crying out for help… many who have lost their childhood and their faith in people.

Read More: How to Stop Child Labor

Know more about our global challenges today. Visit the World Counts Stories and see how you can help make our place a better place to live in.


  1. Wikipedia: Child Labour
  2. UNICEF: Child Protection

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