Child labour in India: an uncertain future?

A boy picks out plastic bottles at a recycling yard in New Delhi, India.


Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor – Cambodia

A boy prepares a bag of scrap bottles collected from a dump for sale on a dust street, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 
Cambodia made a significant advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training adopted a new regulation on the recruitment of young workers that strengthens protections against hazardous work for children ages 15 to 18. The Government also established a policy to reduce child labor in agriculture, a sector in which many Cambodian children are known to work. In order to strengthen efforts to combat human trafficking, including the trafficking of children, the Government adopted a National Plan of Action on the Suppression of Human Trafficking, Smuggling, Labor, and Sexual Exploitation, and allocated funding to the National Committee for Counter Trafficking to ensure its implementation. 
The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation also approved guidelines to standardize procedures for identifying and protecting victims of human trafficking. To better inform policies and programs that address child labor in Cambodia, a study was published in 2015 on child labor in the sugarcane sector. However, children in Cambodia are engaged in child labor, including in agriculture, and in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation. Cambodia does not have a compulsory education requirement, which leaves children vulnerable to the worst forms of child labor. In addition, insufficient financial and human resources hinder the labor inspectorate’s efforts to enforce child labor laws.

Child Labor Rising Sharply in India’s Cities

A ragpicker boy searches recyclable material at a garbage dumping site on the outskirts of Gauhati, Assam state, India.  
Urban India is employing an increasing number of children — many under 9 years old — in producing everything from pickles to fireworks, working in tourism and laboring on building sites, a U.N. children’s agency report and campaigners said. The State of Child Workers in India report by UNICEF, based on the latest Indian census data, says the proportion of child workers in the 5-to-9-year age group jumped to 24.8 percent in 2011 from 14.6 percent in 2001. The same decade also saw an increase in urban child laborers to 2.9 percent of the child population, up from 2.1 percent. While across India there was a drop in child workers, to 3.9 percent in 2011 from 5 percent in 2001, campaigners say the problem could be much bigger, with data failing to capture the extent of child labor in the home.