Child labour

Where can I find information about child labour?

Image: Group of Breaker Boys by Lewis Wickes Hine on Flickr.

Entry last updated: 18/09/17

Introduction

Putting young children to work in conditions that are usually considered unsafe or unhealthy is known as child labour. This includes work that is dangerous, illegal or prevents children from getting an education. Child labour was very common in the past. These days most societies believe child labour is wrong, but it remains a major issue in some parts of the world. This entry will give you information about where to find information about child labour, including facts and statistics, the benefits and disadvantages, industries that use child labour and children's rights.

Facts and statistics

Did you know that when this entry was published there were about 170 million children who were child labourers? Most of them work on farms that produce consumer goods like coffee, rubber, chocolate, cocoa and other crops. You can find facts and statistics similar to this on the following websites:

International Labour Organisation

The International Labour Organisation website has some good information on this topic.

  • Go to the Topics tab at the top of the page.
  • Select Child Labour.

To find a definition for child labour:

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Our World in Data

This site provides data about how living conditions are changing around the world, and includes historical and current information about child labour.

  • Type the keywords 'child labour' into the search bar at the top of the page.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, e.g child labour. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Benefits and disadvantages

There are clearly many disadvantages associated with child labour, however some may argue that there are benefits too. The following databases provide information about the benefits and disadvantages of child labour.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context

A great place to search for different viewpoints is EPIC. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this. You may need a password from your school or local library to access it.

  • To search this site, type the keywords 'child labor' into the search bar at the top of the page.
  • As this is an American site, the American spelling of 'labour' will get the best results.

You will notice that the search results include resources that talk about the benefits of child labour, like the article Regulated Child Labor is Necessary in Developing Countries.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Global Issues in Context

This is another great site to use as it has a number of articles from magazines, journals and encyclopedias about child labour.

There are two ways to search this site:

  1. Find the box on the home page called Women, Children, and the Family, choose View All and select Child Labor.
  2. Type the keywords 'child labor' into the search bar at the top of the page.

Industries that use child labour

As mentioned earlier, child labour is used in many different industries around the world.

United States Department of Labour

This site has an American focus as it's a United States government website. However, it contains a useful table that lists different countries and the goods they produce using child labour.

  • Type the keywords 'child labour industries' into the search bar at the top of the page.
  • Click on List of Good Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor in the search results.
  • Filter the search to view only goods that are produced using child labour, by selecting 'Child Labor' in the 'Exploitation Type' drop box.
Tips: A website’s address (URL) can give you a hint about how reliable it is. Look for addresses in the results that include .gov or .edu in the URL. These are quality sites from overseas government or educational organisations.

The Guardian

This British news website has a number of current news articles that talk about different industries that use child labour, around the world.

  • Type the keywords 'child labour industries' in the search bar to view all the articles about child labour, by the Guardian.
Tips: Most of the websites included in this entry contain information about industries that use child labour. If you need more information, don't forget to check the other websites in this entry too!

Children's rights

Child labour can also be thought of as a human rights issue whenever children are put in dangerous or harmful situations. Most people agree that children have the right to be safe and healthy, and have access to education.

Encyclopedia Britannica

This is an online encyclopedia that contains useful information on a range of topics including children's rights.

  • Click the Middle reading level
  • Type the keywords 'children's rights' into the search bar at the top of the page.
Tips: If the information you find is too easy or too hard, click on the numbers at the top of the page to adjust the reading level.

UNICEF

There are a number of organisations that have been set up to deal with issues concerning children. UNICEF promote the rights and welfare of children throughout the world. This website contains a lot of information about children's rights and the actions UNICEF are taking to promote the protection of children's rights.

  • Type the keywords 'children's rights' into the search bar at the top of the page.
  • You can filter your search results by year, format, topics and locations.

Books

There are a number of books and stories that have been written about child labour - check out your local public or school library to see what they have there.

Here are some recommended titles:

SCIS no: 1832657
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