June 12 – World Day against Child Labour

June 12 – World Day against Child Labour


According to the International Labour Organization (ILO)[1], in 2016 there were 152 million (9.6%) children and adolescents who were in “child labour situations”. Of these, 73 million (4.6%) they did it in jobs considered dangerous (“those thay may have detrimental effects on the safety, health and moral development of children”). Of the total number of girls and boys affected by child labor, 58% were boys (88 million) and 42% girls (64 million). Unpaid domestic work is not counted in this statistics.

If we look by sector of activity, the universe of these 152 million working girls and boys, 70.9% corresponds to agriculture, 17.2% to services and 11.9% to industry.

If we segment by age, we see that there are approximately 114 million girls and boys between 5 and 14 years of age who are subjected to some form of child labour, of which 35 million are engaged in work considered dangerous.

Most of those who perform child labor do so as auxiliary family workers (69.1%), those who officiate as paid workers are 27.2%, while self-employment is 3.7%.

Another form of child labour that is not usually registered as such is that related to unpaid domestic work (care, cleaning, meal preparation, etc.). Globally, 17 million boys and 30 million girls perform between 21 and 42 hours of domestic work per week. And 2.5 million boys and 4.3 million girls work more than 43 hours a week.

In the Americas, the prevalence of child labor is 5.3%, with nearly 10.7 million children and adolescents, of which 6.5 million, or 3.2% of the total, perform work considered dangerous. The distribution by sectors differs somewhat from the global one and stands out for a greater participation of the services sector (agriculture 51.5%, 35.3% services, 13.2% industry).

Although at the end of the 90s of the last century, child labor in our region reached about 17-18 million children and today it has dropped to almost 10 million, the fight against this problem is stagnant and even, according to the ILO, the prevalence of child labour could increase by 1 to 3 percentage points as a result of the impact of the pandemic in the region[2]. Among the factors that explain the latter is the worsening of unemployment and job insecurity in families, as well as the drop in attendance at schools and the sustainability of the training processes of many girls and boys.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out to eradicate child labor by 2025. However, at the rate of progress made between 2012 and 2016, by 2025 there will still be 121 million children and adolescents subjected to child labour worldwide[3].


[1] ILO, 2017. Estimaciones mundiales sobre trabajo infantil. Available: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_651815.pdf 

[2] ILO, 2020. La pandemia por COVID-19 podría incrementar el trabajo infantil en América Latina y el Caribe. Note Topic Nº 1. Available: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—americas/—ro-lima/documents/publication/wcms_747653.pdf

[3] ILO, 2017.