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Protection of Children from Harmful Work

Over 85 million girls and boys are estimated to be engaged in hazardous work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to them. Harmful work interferes with children’s education by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school or limits their attendance due to excessively long and heavy work.

Some children engaged in harmful 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 are harmful. Many children and youths may benefit from being economically active, such as through light work that can be combined with school. 

Save the Children addresses the complexity of children and work in both development and emergencies contexts, by combining our expertise in child protection, economic strengthening, health and education to create opportunities for children to become healthy, educated and empowered citizens. We advocate on social protection for the prevention of harmful work, support in transition from harmful work to decent 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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