Child labor and health [Article in English]

Nurka Pranjić


Child labor is a problem that has likely been in existence since even before written history. Millions of children around the world work in a variety of settings under exploitative conditions and as a result are being exposed to health and safety hazards on a daily basis. These hazards may be detrimental to their health. Children work or beg to support themselves and their families. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that 110 million children aged 5-14 years are engaged in labor that can be described as hazardous or intolerable. Much of this takes place in Asia and the Pacific, although the highest prevalence is in Africa, where children younger than 14 years make up a third of the total workforce. Often, children are forced to work in the worst conditions. These may cause irreversible damage to their growth, somatic and psychological development. Child labor is a contributor to inter-generational poverty, malnutrition and limited educational attainment. There is a very important connection between homelessness and the worst forms of child labor (child soldiers, sex work/slavery, trafficking of children). The education acquired by a child’s parents, particularly a child’s mother, has a strong impact on the development of a child’s potential. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has made a series of policy recommendations for the abolition of child labor as a condition of human rights. We should focus on and accept ILO’s initial policy today. If societies are to progress, the real work of children needs to be education.


Child; Work; School; Homelessness; Health

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