1. Understanding child labour:

The foundation for effective abolition

  1. The Report so far has illustrated the complexity of the child labour situ­ation in different sectoral and crisis contexts across the world, the factors that come into play in determining whether a child works and the type of work that he or she does, and how this work can often constitute a worst form of child labour. While each situation in which child labour emerges is different, it is clear that there are many common elements that impinge upon the work and school outcomes for children in different situations. Much has been published about the causes and consequences, both economic and social, of child labour. In this section, we highlight some key causal factors and how they interact to bring about child labour.

Causes act at different levels

Heterogeneity in the 155. The question “Why do children work?” is too general to lead us in the child labour force direction of effective action to prevent child labour. We need instead to know why certain children or groups of children become involved in certain kinds of child labour, especially in its worst forms. Children do not represent a ho­mogeneous category in the labour market: age, sex, ethnicity, social class and relative deprivation appear to interact to affect the type and intensity of work that children perform, as well as whether they work or not.

  1. The fact that child labour and poverty are inextricably linked is widely acknowledged and undeniable. In countries with an annual per capita income of US$500 or less (at 1987 prices), the labour force participation of children aged 10-14 is 30-60 per cent, compared to only 10-30 per cent in countries with an annual per capita income of US$501-1000.[1] No one would argue with the general proposition that child labour is both a result and a cause of poverty. Household poverty pushes children into the labour market to earn money to supplement family income or even to survive. Evidence is also clear that, by lowering human capital accumulation, child labour perpetuates household poverty across generations and thereby slows national economic growth and social development.[2]
  1. However, in the absence of further analysis, putting child labour at the doorstep of poverty unfortunately does little to help us move towards solving the problem. We need to look at the different aspects of poverty, and indeed the other causes of child labour, and how these interact with one another, so that we can fully grasp the dynamic forces pushing and pulling children into different types of labour. Only then can effective and sustainable measures to combat child labour be devised, measures that will act on all of these causes simultaneously.
  2. Causes can be analysed at three levels: Three levels of causality
  • Immediate causes are the most visible and obvious: they act directly at the level of the child and the family. Household-income poverty (income not meeting cash needs for subsistence) and cash-flow crises caused by shocks to the household economy are key. For example, with a sick mother, an absent father and no food, the eldest child in the family may well pick up a bucket and cloth and go to wash windscreens.
  • Underlying causes refer to values and situations that may predispose a family or community to accept or even encourage child labour for boys and/or girls. Perceptions of poverty come into play at this level; for example, “consumerism” may drive children and parents alike to seek to earn more money to buy the consumer goods that are becoming increasingly available.
  • Structural or root causes act at the level of the larger economy and society, influencing the enabling environment in which child labour can either flourish or be controlled. Aggregate national poverty (low Gross Domestic Product) operates at this level.
  1. Table 5, showing examples of causes acting at each level, illustrates that, while income poverty is indeed an important causal factor for child labour, it is certainly not the only one. In fact, when limited to its income aspect, poverty has considerably less explanatory power for child labour than other factors
Table 5. Levels of causality for child labour

Immediate causes Underlying causes Structural or root causes
Limited or no cash or food stocks; increase in price of basic goods Breakdown of extended family and informal social protection systems Low/declining national income
Family indebtedness Uneducated parents; high fertility rates Inequalities between nations and regions; adverse terms of trade
Household shocks, e.g. death or illness of income earner, crop failure Cultural expectations regarding children, work and education Societal shocks, e.g. war, financial and economic crises, transition, HIV/AIDS
No schools; or schools of poor quality or irrelevant Discriminatory attitudes based on gender, caste, ethnicity, national origin, etc. Insufficient financial or political commit­ment for education, basic services and social protection; “bad” governance
Demand for cheap labour in informal micro-enterprises Perceived poverty: desire for consumer goods and better living standards Social exclusion of marginal groups and/or lack of legislation and/or effective enforcement
Family business or farm cannot afford hired labour Sense of obligation of children to their families, and of “rich” people to the “poor” Lack of decent work for adults

such as inequality, lack of education, high dependence on agriculture in the economy as a whole and slow demographic transition.[3]

  1. Poverty has many dimensions beyond a mere lack of income and expend­iture, and children have their own perceptions of it. In Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, poor children talk of lack of self-esteem, being considered as inferior by wealthier households and being beaten by wealthier children.[4] Poverty has many non-measurable aspects in addition to low income, all of which con­spire to put children in poor families generally at greater risk of being drawn into child labour.

The demand for child labour

  1. How and why do children get offers of work? While there is not always a readily identifiable employer in relation to child labour, it is generally recog­nized that employers who engage under-age workers tend to be found in small units with simple production technologies and relatively little capital.[5] They may give work to their own children as well as to children from other families. In both cases, the employers’ perceptions play an important role. Such em­ployers may prefer children because they are paid less than adults on a daily rate (but not piece-work) basis, because of beliefs about their suitability for certain jobs,[6] and because more work can be extracted from them owing to their greater docility and lack of awareness of, and ability to claim, their rights. Traditions and cultural expectations also play a role. In some commun­ities, employers feel a social obligation to offer income-earning opportunities to poor families, including their children.
  2. The kind of work offered to girls and boys reflects gender roles; sex seg­regation in the market for child labour often mirrors that in the adult labour market.[7] Other jobs are “children’s jobs”. In the home, this may mean tasks that save an adult’s time or energy, such as running errands, caring for smaller children or weeding a family vegetable plot. In the labour market, children’s jobs may involve work they are good at because they are children, such as beg­ging, or work for which they can be paid less than adults, such as unskilled time-consuming tasks on agricultural plantations. Children’s jobs also differ according to their age, in line with their evolving capacities. The position of both children and youth in the labour market in general reflects their lowly status in society.[8] Children from socially excluded groups may find them­selves at the very bottom of the pile. In northern Europe, for example, child labourers are likely to be of African or Turkish origin, in Canada, they tend to be of Asian descent, and in Brazil, from indigenous groups.
  3. Given the predominance of child labour in the informal economy, the vast majority of working children are likely to be working on their own account or in small-scale family-based enterprises (often their own family, thereby be­coming employed by their parents). For example, in Sri Lanka, of all eco­nomically active children aged 5-17, 77 per cent are unpaid family workers assisting in both agricultural and non-agricultural enterprises.[9] Of course, it must be remembered that economic activity of children is not the same as the child labour to be abolished; the interaction of the child’s age with the type and conditions of work determines the boundaries of the latter. However, the evidence is clear that working in a family enterprise, or with family members, does not necessarily protect a child from hazardous or otherwise detrimental forms of child labour.
  1. Evidence from economists shows that it is not always children from the poorest or landless households who work in a family agricultural undertaking rather than go to school. Families who own land and livestock may have a greater need for the unpaid labour of household members, as they cannot af­ford to pay for hired casual labour.[10] In addition, parents may feel that chil­dren should work to secure their inheritance. Another seemingly perverse aspect is that there may be more child labour in relatively less deprived areas of a country as, given the greater amount of cash circulating, there are more economic opportunities. And while natural disasters can temporarily cripple the informal economy, thus cutting off demand for child labour, conversely, when and where there is a degree of economic growth, there may be a concom­itant rise in demand for child labour.

Household decision-making about child labour

  1. The underlying and structural or root causes of child labour set the macro-level backdrop against which micro-level decisions are taken about whether children in an individual household will engage in child labour. Al­though, as we have seen, some children are coerced into labour (through ab­duction, drugging or forms of slavery including debt bondage), most children work as a result of conscious decisions. Parental choice models, based on the notion that parents or other adults choose to send children to work rather than to school, assume that adults decide according to rational economic criteria, for selfish reasons or out of ignorance.
  2. But children, at least those of a certain age and maturity, may also decide to work for a variety of reasons: to contribute to family survival or to ensure their own survival as orphans or street children, because they dislike school or are being abused there, to escape an untenable family situation, for cash to purchase anything from school books to designer clothes to drugs, to feel in­dependent, or even simply to avoid boredom in the absence of other things to do, school included. Whereas parental choice mechanisms have been exten­sively studied, little is known about how children make decisions.
  3. Parental attitudes, reflecting cultural norms, nonetheless play a major role in sending a child to work or to school. Parents’ expectations that children will provide for them in their old age may lead to their having larger numbers of children and, where household incomes are limited, there may be a lower level of investment in each child, including in education. Parents may genu­inely believe that they are doing the best for their children by allowing or en­couraging them to work, not realizing the hazards that the work might entail. In some cases, they and their children may well not be at all aware of the reality of the situation that lies in store. This is particularly true in the case of trafficking, which starts with promises of hotel work or training opportunities but ends in commercial sexual exploitation or forced domestic labour.
  1. Gender is an important factor influencing decision-making about chil­dren’s work and education. The data presented in Chapter 2 show that, in ag­gregate, more boys than girls are involved in child labour, and we have seen that the situation varies according to the sector of work. The effect of gender varies across countries and cultures, as gender roles are socially, not biologi­cally, determined. In societies where education enhances girls’ status for mar­riage, girls may be more likely than boys to get a good education. Conversely, there are situations where girls are encouraged to stay at school while their brothers are pushed to leave school to go to work, because more jobs are avail­able for boys. Yet cultural norms can exclude girls from certain types of train­ing or, indeed, from education altogether. Because of limited expectations of girls securing decent, paid work as adults owing to women’s generally low sta­tus in society, returns on their education may be perceived as lower than that of boys – as reflected in sometimes markedly lower primary-school enrolment rates for girls than for boys (e.g. in South Asia).
  2. The need for additional income is clearly a primary consideration for parents and children alike in deciding whether children should work. Lack of decent income-earning opportunities for youth and adults is a root cause of child labour. Fluctuations in household income and their effect on a house­hold’s short-term cash flow, as well as average household income over the month or year, are important in determining whether children’s work will be just a temporary stop-gap measure or a more long-term one. Children’s work in many cases contributes a substantial fraction of household income, usually around 20 per cent.[11] This could indicate that, for these households, the child’s income is necessary to bridge the gap between survival and starvation. However, evidence shows that not all poor households with similar levels of income resort to the use of child labour. Conversely, child labour is found in households whose income lies above the poverty line. It is therefore clear that factors beyond the need for additional family income are at play in determin­ing child labour outcomes.
  3. Overall, decisions about whether or not a particular child works depend on a mixture of need (whether the family or child actually requires the in­come), opportunity (whether work is available for children), values (about children, work of boys and girls and their futures, responsibility towards fam­ily members, education and consumer goods) and perceptions (whether the child or family has images of a better life that can be secured by the child working).

Demographic change

  1. Decisions about child labour are also influenced by the size and struc­ture of the family (e.g. number, sex, age, spacing and birth order of children, presence of elderly or disabled family members, number of adults of working age). Changes in family form and function affect children’s participation in the labour market. The increased numbers of child- and grandparent-headed households, principally linked to HIV/AIDS and armed conflict, but for other reasons as well, means increased pressure on children to work.
Table 6. Proportion of children under 18 in the total population (1999)

  Total population (thousands) Children under 18  
    Number (thousands) Percentage
Industrialized countries 851 638 189 233 22
Developing countries 4 776 909 1 857 584 39
Least developed countries 629 587 309 976 49
World 5 961 655 2 125 143 36

Source: Based on United Nations Population Division: World Population Prospects: The 2000 revision (New York, United Nations, 2001).


  1. Slow demographic transition in the poorest parts of the world results in a continued supply of children available for the labour market (see table 6). The age group normally regarded as economically active (15-65 years) has a con­siderable burden if it is to support the dependent age groups (young and old). HIV/AIDS is exacerbating the situation in the countries most severely af­fected by the pandemic as it hits the most productive age groups of men and women the hardest. This leads to obvious pressure on families to expand the economically active age group by bringing younger children into the work­force.
  2. Decreasing fertility rates in developing countries offer some cause for Decreasing fertility rates optimism for a future reduction in child labour. Fertility in these countries has dropped to just under three children per woman, about half the rate it was 30 years ago. In some countries, including in Mexico and in parts of South-East Asia, fertility has declined sharply over the past generation, creating the de­mographic bonus of a large cohort of 15-24-year-olds ready to enter the work­force, without the pressure of an equally large generation of children behind them.[12]

Parents and children on the move

  1. Natural disaster, armed conflict or simply restricted economic oppor­tunity in rural areas may push families to migrate to seek their livelihood else­where, either in their own country or across borders. Younger children may migrate along with their parents while adolescents may set out on their own.
  2. Although there is no fixed or universal relationship between migration Migration increases and child labour in places of origin or destination, there are a number of fac- children’s vulnerability tors that increase children’s vulnerability. For example, migration separates children from their usual support networks; they may not speak the local lan­guage, which can cause problems for schooling; they may be from a different ethnic group or nationality, exposing them to discrimination; and their lack of a birth certificate, once away from their place of birth, effectively denies them official identity and often means they cannot access services.
  1. Meanwhile, in the migrants’ communities of origin, children may be called upon to fill gaps left in the labour market or to undertake household tasks that were previously the responsibility of adults.

The role of social protection

  1. Different agencies have different definitions of social protection. For the ILO, the term covers not only social security but also non-statutory schemes. It extends to income security, health and safety at work and the environment, conditions of work and family issues, pensions and retirement. In its very broadest sense, social protection can be taken to mean all “the public actions taken in response to levels of vulnerability, risk and deprivation which are deemed socially unacceptable within a given polity or society”. It aims to ad­dress both the current deprivation and vulnerability of poor people as well as the need of the currently non-poor for security in the face of shocks and events beyond their control. Public actions may be taken by institutions in govern­ment or by civil society, or by a combination of the two.[13]
  2. According to ILO estimates, more than half of the world’s population (workers and their dependants) is excluded from any type of social security protection,[14] and perhaps 80 per cent do not have adequate protection.[15] This is the case for the vast majority of people in developing countries; even in some of the richest countries there are large and growing gaps.
  3. Workers in the informal economy, where most child labourers and their families are to be found, are not usually covered by public provision of social security, which operates largely through formal sector employment. Reasons for their exclusion from these systems include the practical difficulties of col­lecting contributions from them and their employers, their unwillingness or inability to pay contributions (especially when the benefits on offer do not match what they consider to be their most important needs, in particular for health care) and their distrust of the management of formal schemes.[16] Child­headed and grandparent-headed households are especially difficult to reach through formal social protection systems and welfare, particularly if their members are migrants without official identities.
  4. Informal support and solidarity systems are widespread in the face of in­adequate formal, publicly funded social protection and social welfare ser­vices, especially but not exclusively in developing countries. Far from being net recipients of social support, children may be important contributors to such systems. Children are valued for their labour inputs to the household economy during childhood and, as they grow up, as social insurance for peri­ods when sickness and ageing affect the older generations in the family. Poor households tend to rely most heavily on transfers from different non-state sources for their survival, such as kin, community and religious groups. Chil­dren may make this kind of “social capital” work, for example, by running er­rands for secluded women in traditional societies,[17] or by being fostered between or within families for the care of the elderly or other children. But such traditional forms of support may break down in the face of crises, such as HIV/AIDS, and increasingly market-oriented economies, which may ex­clude the poorest families who simply have too few resources to enter into re­ciprocal arrangements.

Education and child labour

  1. Just as child labour is inextricably linked to poverty, so is its effective abolition linked to education. While accessible, good quality educational op­portunities can help keep children out of unacceptable forms of work, the ab­sence of public education systems, quality schools and training programmes serves to perpetuate child labour. Child labour in turn prevents children at­tending and benefiting from school.
  2. Trends in school enrolment reflect government expenditure patterns. Structural adjustment programmes reduced government budgets for social ex­penditure, leading to a reduction in primary-school enrolment in a number of African countries and a decline in access to quality education there and in Latin America.[18] A similar experience has occurred in transition countries such as Mongolia, which not too long ago had the highest literacy rate in Asia. Economic privatization has affected about 35,000 herding families whose children used to receive their education in boarding schools and, dur­ing their vacations, worked with the animals. The Government no longer has the funds to continue with schooling and, in any case, many children have had to drop out of school to assist with herding activities, a number helping out in households to which they are not related.[19] Likewise, expenditure on educa­tion in the Russian Federation between 1989 and 1996 fell by one-third,[20] with teachers widely affected by non-payment of wages.
  3. While poverty of the family may keep many children out of school, pov­erty of the State can never be accepted as a reason to deny children’s right to education. Publicly funded education is an escape route from poverty. How­ever, there are many places throughout the world where schools simply do not exist, or exist as buildings but have no teachers. Those schools with buildings and teachers may have no books, paper or pencils. Access to information tech­nology is only a distant dream for most schools in the world.
  4. School curricula are frequently outdated, gender-biased and irrelevant to contemporary needs. Vocational training often does not match the needs of the local labour market, and it is gender-stereotyped, under-resourced and unrealistically long in duration for the poor. Official recognition of the poten­tial role of informal education or training, particularly for children who have had little or no exposure to formal schooling, remains limited. Literacy pro­grammes, “second chance” programmes for out-of-school youth and skills certification for young people who have learnt a craft informally are the excep­tion rather than the rule. Apprenticeship systems have potential, but in some instances they may turn out to be exploitative (see box 4.1).
  5. Teachers face inadequate infrastructure and overcrowded classrooms. Because of low or irregular payment, or even non-payment of wages, they may have to hold down two jobs to feed their families. In some countries, teachers are denied the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining that might enable them to improve their situation. Under such conditions, even the most dedicated teachers are likely to lose their motivation.
  6. The educational system reflects the inequalities that are to be found out­side the classroom. Children who are exhausted from coping with both lessons

Box 4.1

Apprenticeship: Training or child labour?

Apprenticeship is a means of on-the-job training of both semi-skilled and skilled workers that takes many forms in different places and at different times. It can involve employers, the government, the trainee and sometimes also workers’ organizations, and it can be formal or informal in nature. In many situations, it is a sound route to acquiring skills for the adult labour market. However, if not well structured or supervised, it can lead to abuse.

In sub-Saharan Africa, apprenticeships based on traditional fostering ar­rangements involve the apprentice learning by watching the “master” and start­ing out as little more than a tool holder and an errand boy. Although this has been a successful way of transferring skills down the generations, it is potentially ex­ploitative, as the period of training may not be fixed and the range of skills learned may be very narrow. It may essentially keep the young worker in a state of de­pendency well into adulthood.

Similar systems exist elsewhere in the world. In Pakistan, for example, chil­dren may work as informal apprentices to an ustad (master) for 10-12 years, be­coming semi-skilled workers and later taking on their own child apprentices.

Written contracts can be established, as happens in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, and certificates provided on successful completion of training. After this, the apprentice may become a co-worker with the master until leaving to set up his/her own business. The system is subject to labour inspection, with penalties if violations occur.

and work may be ostracized in the classroom or subjected to corporal punish­ment, thus reducing their enthusiasm for learning.

Girls at particular risk 187. Girls are at particular risk of exclusion from school and comprise around

60 per cent of the children worldwide who do not attend primary school. Par­ents may prefer to invest in their sons’ education and keep their daughters at home to contribute to the household economy. Cultural traditions may prevent girls from attending co-educational classes, or schools may be so far from home and constitute such an unsafe environment that girls are effectively ex­cluded by concerns for their protection. In some countries, such as the United Republic of Tanzania, there has been a practice of excluding a girl who be­comes pregnant from school, while the boy who fathered the child could con­tinue his studies.[21] Once a girl has become a mother, she is considered an adult and therefore no longer eligible to go to school. However, some argu­ments put forward in favour of girls’ education illustrate the deeply engrained nature of perceptions of gender (see box 4.2).

Hidden costs of school 188. The cost of education is also a factor. If education is to be a viable option

for the working children of poor families, these families must find ways to compensate for the cash income or labour lost when a child attends school. Even free education, where there are no tuition fees, is not without its cash cost for necessary supplies and transport. The amount of money required to keep children in school can therefore be quite substantial, especially for fam­ilies with more than one school-age child. For example, in the United Re­public of Tanzania, the average annual cost of primary schooling in 2000 was estimated to be about 63,000 shillings (US$80) for fees, books, charges for buildings, examinations, uniform and shoes, transport and food. At the time of calculation, this amount for one child represented half the income of

Box 4.2

Why educate girls?

Girls are much more likely than boys not to receive primary school educa­tion. In much international discussion of the need to improve this situation, the well-known correlation between female education and child survival is given as the main justification. The case for educating girls is thus all too often related to their future role as mothers rather than to their own social and economic em­powerment or their human right to education.

Unless the education of girls is promoted and valued for its own sake, in the context of the overall pursuit of gender equality, parents will continue to find rea­sons not to send their daughters to school. This is especially so in societies where the status of women is subordinate to that of men and where women are valued primarily for their reproductive role rather than for their productive work. many poor rural families, who usually have several children.[22] Mechanisms to compensate for a child’s lost income and the cash costs of school through, for example, support for adult income generation and cash stipends, remain rare.

  1. Policy-makers need to recognize that the relationship between school and work for children is not straightforward, and nor are these mutually exclu­sive options for many children, who find themselves trying to do both.[23] New estimates by the ILO indicate that, globally, approximately 7 per cent of all children in the 5-9 age group combine work and school, as do 10 per cent of those aged 10-14 and 11 per cent of those aged 15-17 (see table 7).
  2. School performance is bound to suffer as a result of attendance made ir­regular by child labour. However, it should be remembered that for children above the minimum age for employment, training and work can, of course, be fully compatible. For children still at school some light work that does not in­terfere with their education is not problematic, subject to certain conditions.
Table 7. Global estimates of the activity status of children in 2000

Activity status 5-9 years 10-14 years 15-17 years
Percentage at work 12 23 42.5
■ At work only 5 13 31
■ At work and at school 7 10 11
Percentage at school but not at work 68 67 43.5
Percentage neither at school nor at work1 20 10 14

1 Children neither at school nor at work comprise a number of groups, e.g. children who are disabled or chronically ill, children who are too young to attend school, children who have no access to school yet do not work, children who are looking for work, children (especially girls) who are engaged in domestic cho­res and therefore do not count as being at work, and children at play.


Source: ILO estimates for 2000.

Figure 5. Discrepancies between the minimum age for employment (MAE) and the end of compulsory schooling (ECS) in national legislation

38 countries with a gap between the MAE and the ECS

Length of the gap between the MAE and the ECS

Countries with a gap of three years

  1. There are often policy inconsistencies in the school-leaving age and the minimum age for entry into employment. Figure 5 shows that only 31 of the 91 countries for which data are available had the same school-leaving age and minimum age for entry into employment.[24] In some cases, there was a three- year gap. In countries where there is such a discrepancy, what are these young people to do between the age at which compulsory schooling ends and the age at which legal work can begin? And, in countries where the minimum age for employment is lower than the school-leaving age, what message does this give about the seriousness of the government’s commitment to achieve education for all? A similar problem of contradictory ages for leaving school and enter­ing apprenticeships exists in some countries as well.
  2. Achieving policy coherence in this area is made more difficult by the prevailing divide between the government ministries responsible for educa­tion and those responsible for labour and employment, each of which has separate objectives, budgets, decision-making structures and delivery mech­anisms. As a result, the link between those campaigning for the abolition of child labour and those calling for education for all tends to be weak at all lev­els.
  1. In some cases, especially in West Africa and in Latin America, the situ­ation is further complicated by the differing definitions of a child in the dif­ferent legal instruments. Confusion between the status of those under 18 and whether they are children, minors or young persons leads to further incoher­ence in policy.


  1. There are many interlinked explanations for child labour. No single fac­tor can fully explain its persistence and, in some cases, its growth. The way in which different causes, at different levels, interact with each other ultimately determines whether or not an individual child becomes a child labourer.
  2. Part I of this Report has portrayed a panorama of the kinds of work that children perform across the world. It has provided a sobering glimpse into the hazards that many children face while working. Children’s participation in the labour force at the start of the twenty-first century is endlessly varied and in­finitely volatile, responding to changing market and social conditions. This context is matched by the flexibility of the large, unprotected, potential child labour force. Poverty and social exclusion, labour mobility, discrimination on the basis of sex and other grounds, and lack of adequate social protection and educational opportunity all come into play in influencing child labour out­comes.
  3. What does this mean for action to combat child labour? Experience shows that a combination of economic growth, respect for labour standards, universal education and social protection, together with a better understand­ing of the needs and rights of children, can bring about a significant reduction in child labour. It tells us that continuous vigilance is needed to sustain im­provements in the face of deep and rapid social, economic and political change. Child labour is a stubborn problem that, even if overcome in certain places or sectors, will seek out opportunities to reappear in new and often un­anticipated ways.
  4. Our responses to the problem must be similarly versatile and adaptable, based firmly on the reality of child labour in a given national context. There is no simple, quick fix for child labour, nor a universal blueprint for action; if there were, a great deal of the problem would have disappeared long ago. Con­certed, long-term efforts that draw creatively upon the wealth of experience al­ready gathered in fighting child labour are needed. In Part II, we shall review the action that has been taken so far at local, national and international levels to respond to this challenge.

[1]     P. Fallon and Z. Tzannatos: Child labour: Issues and directions for the World Bank (Washington, World Bank, 1998). Nonetheless, the decline in the labour force participation of children is less marked as GDP rises in more affluent countries.

[2] R. Galli: The economic impact of child labour, Discussion Paper DP/128/2001 (Geneva, Interna­tional Institute for Labour Studies, 2001), p. 21.

[3]     I. Ahmad: “Getting rid of child labour”, in Economic and Political Weekly (Mumbai), 1999, Vol. XXXIV, No. 27, pp. 1815-1822.

[4]     D. Narayan et al.: Voices of the poor: Crying out for change (New York, Oxford University Press for the World Bank, 2000), p. 42.

[5]     R. Anker et al. (eds.): Economics of child labour in hazardous industries of India (Baroda, Centre for Operations Research and Training, 1998).

[6]     Research, however, has largely discredited the “nimble fingers” argument, showing that most work performed by children is also done by adults. Children are also less productive than adults.

[7]     This is mirrored in many vocational training schemes, which provide training in sewing and hair­dressing for girls and in carpentry and car repair for boys.

[8]     D. Elson: “The differentiation of children’s labour in the capitalist labour market”, in Development and Change (The Hague, International Development Studies Institute). 1982, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 479­498.

[9]     IPEC: Summary findings of child labour survey in Sri Lanka, 1999, see www.ilo.org/public/english/ standards/ipec/simpoc/index.htm

[10]    S. Bhalotra and C. Heady: Child farm labour: The wealth paradox, Bristol Discussion Paper No. 00/ 492, see www.bris.ac.uk/Debts/Economics/research/pdffiles/dp00492.pdf

[11]    See, for example, B. Sharma and V. Mittar: Child labour and the urban informal sector (New Delhi, Deep and Deep Publications, 1990); and H.A. Patrinos and G. Psacharopoulos: “Educational perform­ance and child labour in Paraguay”, in International Journal of Educational Development (Oxford, El­sevier Science Ltd.), 1994, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 47-60.

[12]    “The state of world population 2001 edition”, in POPLINE (Washington, DC, The Population In­stitute), 2001, Vol. 23, 7 Nov.

[13]    A. Norton, T. Conway and M. Foster: Social protection concepts and approaches: Implicationsfor pol­icy and practice in international development, Working paper 143 (London, Overseas Development In­stitute, 2001).

[14]    ILO: Social security: Issues, challenges and prospects, Report VI, International Labour Conference, 89th Session, Geneva, 2001, p. 3.

[15]    ILO: Social protection sector (Geneva, 2001), p.1.

[16]    ILO: Social security: Issues, challenges and prospects, op. cit. p. 26.

[17]    E. Schildkrout: “The employment of children in Kano”, in G. Rodgers and G. Standing (eds.): Child work, poverty and underdevelopment (Geneva, ILO, 1981), pp. 81-112.

[18]    R. van der Hoeven: Poverty and structural adjustment: Some remarks on tradeoffs between equity and growth, Employment Paper 2000/4 (ILO, Geneva, 2000), p. 11.

[19]    IPEC: Country programme progress report: Mongolia (Geneva, ILO, 2001); and Summary of the ICFTU-APRO Anti Child Labour Campaign Team Meeting, 24-26 July 2001, Bangkok.

[20]    UNICEF: Education for all? The MONEE Project, UNICEF International Child Development Cen­tre, Regional Monitoring Report No. 5 (Florence, UNICEF, 1998), figure 2.11.

[21]    NGO Report on the United Republic of Tanzania to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 15 Nov. 2000, see www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/crc.27/Tanzania.pdf

[22]    ILO/UNCTAD: The minimum income for school attendance (MISA) initiative: Achieving internation­al development goals in African least developed countries (Geneva, ILO/UNCTAD Advisory Group, 2001).

[23]    Six groups can be distinguished in the 5-15 age group of school-age children: go to school and have never worked; attend school and work; work and have left school early because of work; work and attend some kind of non-formal education; work and have never attended school; have neither worked nor gone to school.

[24]    A similar situation is revealed in the 2002 ILO Review of annual reports under the Declaration, Part I, in which only six countries out of 16 reporting on this issue indicated that the minimum age for em­ployment was the same as the school-leaving age. In seven countries there was an overlap, and in three there was a gap (p. 25).