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Protection of Children from Harmful Work

It is estimated that there are over 115 million girls and boys who are engaged in harmful work. Harmful work is any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education. It could also be work that is harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. Some of the children who are engaged in hazardous work experience its worst forms – including slavery, forced and bonded work, child trafficking, illicit activities, and involvement in armed conflict, prostitution or pornography.

Save the Children recognizes that not all forms of work is harmful. While some forms of work violate the rights of children, other forms of work do not, such as light work that can be combined with schooling or work where young people are not exposed to hazards that impact on their wellbeing. Many children and youths currently receive benefits from being economically active.

In Save the Children’s programs, guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the best interests of the child principle and through the involvement and participation of children themselves, Save the Children addresses the complexity of the broad issue of children and work through an integral approach. It combines our expertise in child protection, economic strengthening, health and education to create opportunities for the children to become healthy, educated and empowered citizens. We do advocacy work on social protection for the prevention of harmful work and conduct awareness raising programmes in communities, where children, parents and employers are involved.

Photo: Ahmad Baroudi/Save the Children

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