The horrors of child labour continue around the world. Thomas Scanlon and colleagues explain what can and should be done to tackle this abuse.
- By: Thomas J Scanlon, Vivien Prior, Maria Luiza Nobre Lamarao, Margaret A Lynch, Francesca Scanlon
Child labour today represents the largest single cause of child abuse across the globe. Most of it takes place in economically less developed countries, and much is hidden. In a minority of instances the effects of child labour may be neutral or even positive, such as helping out in a family run shop during school holidays. In recent years therefore the emphasis has shifted from the abolition of all forms of child labour to the elimination of intolerable and hazardous child labour. The International Labour Organisation estimates that worldwide 110 million children aged 5-14 years are engaged in labour that can be described as hazardous or intolerable.1 Most of this takes place in Asia and the Pacific, although the highest prevalence is in Africa, where children younger than 14 years make up a third of the total workforce.1
Slavery, bonded labour, prostitution, and the recruitment of child soldiers are all