International Labour Organization, Child labour

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Summary

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency dealing with labour issues, particularly international labour standards and decent work for all. 185 of the 193 UN member states are members of the ILO.

Details

The term child labour is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, potential, dignity, and is harmful to their physical and mental development.

Child labour 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;
  • obliging them to leave school prematurely; or
  • requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.

Not all work done by children falls under the classification of child labour and therefore should not be so readily targeted for elimination. Children's or adolescents' participation in work that does not negatively affect their health and personal development or interfere with their schooling, is generally regarded as being something positive. This includes activities such as helping their parents around the home, assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and during school holidays. These kinds of activities contribute to children's development and to the welfare of their families; they provide them with skills and experience, and help to prepare them to be productive members of society during their adult life.

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