Hazards banner
Hazards issue 115, July-September 2011
Over 100 million children worldwide in dangerous jobs
Over 115 million of the world's children and young teenagers, or more than 7 per cent of the total, are engaged in dangerous and life-threatening jobs, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said.

Child's play
Hazards issue 115, July-September 2011



Overall, there are 215 million child labourers worldwide, the global labour standards body ILO has calculated. Its June 2011 report, Children in hazardous work: what we know, what we need to do, cites studies from both industrialised and developing countries indicating that every minute of every day, a child labourer somewhere in the world suffers a work-related injury, illness or psychological trauma.

The report also says that although the overall number of children aged 5 to 17 in hazardous work declined between 2004 and 2008, the number aged 15-17 actually increased by 20 per cent during the same period, from 52 million to 62 million.

“Despite important progress over the last decade, the number of children in child labour worldwide - and particularly in hazardous work - remains high," said ILO director-general Juan Somavia. "Governments, employers and workers must act together to give strong leadership in shaping and implementing the policies and action that can end child labour. The persistence of child labour is a clear indictment of the prevailing model of growth. Tackling work that jeopardises the safety, health or morals of children must be a common and urgent priority."

The ILO report concludes that while there is a need to strengthen workplace safety and health for all workers, specific safeguards for adolescents between the minimum age of employment and the age of 18 are needed. These measures need to be part of a comprehensive approach in which employer and worker organisations and the labour inspectorate have particularly critical parts to play, says ILO.

ILO’s 2010 Global Report on child labour warned that efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour were slowing down and expressed concern that the global economic crisis could “further brake” progress toward the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016. One year on, the ILO remains extremely concerned with the impact of the crisis on children.


Back to top


Search Hazards

Hazards issue 115
Child's play

Main story


Further information

ILO International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC)

ILO child labour slideshow

Hazards webpages
Working worldDeadly business


Click on images to see
larger versions