Child labour is work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children and interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school, by obliging them to leave school prematurely, or by requiring them to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work. In its most extreme forms, children are involved in illegal activities, or in work that exposes them to physical, sexual or psychological abuse. However, not all work done by children is classified as child labour that should be eliminated. Work that does not affect children's health and personal development or interfere with their schooling can be constructive. This includes activities such as helping parents around the home, helping in a family business or earning pocket money outside school time.
Whether or not work being carried out by children constitutes child labour depends on the child’s age, the type and hours of work performed, and the impact of the work on the child's health, development and access to education. In addition to determining whether there are child labourers working at the factory premises, the possibility of workers taking work home should be monitored. If work is performed outside the factory premises, determine whether it is being done by underage family members.
- ILO Topic Page: Child Labour
- ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC)
- ILO E-Learning modules