1.1 million children in Nepal engaged in child labour, says report

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Nepal and Central Bureau of Statistics in Nepal have jointly released the Nepal Child Labour Report 2021 which highlights key data and analysis crucial to end child labour in the country, and reveals how the progress in human development indicators has direct impact on the status of child labour.

Among seven million children (total children) between the ages of 5 and 17 in Nepal, 1.1 million children (15.3 per cent) were found to be engaged in child labour, a significant decline in child labour in comparison to 2008 (1.6 million), the report concludes.

Agriculture has been identified as the sector with highest number of child labour.

Among the total children engaged in child labour, about 87 per cent are engaged in the agriculture sector while 13 per cent are in other sectors. The highest child labour prevalence is found among Dalit community (19.4 per cent), and Karnali province has the highest incidence (24.6 per cent).

“There has been a decline in child labour in hazardous occupations by two-third in Nepal, a significant progress in a decade. However, it’s high time that we take on a coordinated approach to implement laws and policies to fill the existing gaps on child labour and child protection in the country,” said Richard Howard, Director of ILO Country Office for Nepal.

The study reveals that child labourers in urban areas (3.3 per cent) seem to be involved more in hazardous occupations in comparison to the child labourers in rural areas (2.9 per cent).

It also reports that female children are more likely to be engaged in child labour (17 per cent) than male (14 per cent).

“The Government of Nepal is committed to end child labour by 2025. The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, has already initiated the second National Master Plan (NMP-II, 2018- 2028) on Child Labour. This report will be helpful in the implementation and monitoring of the plan,” expressed Binod Prakash Singh, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security.

One of the key findings of the report suggests that parental education, wealth and assets seem to have significant impacts on children’s involvement in child labour.

Therefore, addressing Nepal’s human development is instrumental in addressing child labour in the country.

Child labour prevalence is 4.4 per cent for parents with at least the intermediate level education followed by secondary level (grade 9 and 10) education (10.4 per cent) and lower secondary level (grade 6, 7 and 8) education (12.9 per cent).