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Child Labor Pakistan A young girl carries a load of wool down a street in a poor section of Peshawar. Pakistan has laws that limit child labor, but the laws are often ignored. An estimated 11 million children work in Pakistan's factories.

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Child Labor

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Child Labor


PakistanA young girl carries a load of wool down a street in a poor section of Peshawar. Pakistan has laws that limit child labor, but the laws are often ignored. An estimated 11 million children work in Pakistan's factories.

NOTE: This photo essay is from TIME for Kids magazine, April 1, 2005.


KenyaA young boy picks coffee beans at the Misarara Estate Coffee Plantation. The boy works with plants laden with pesticides. About four million Kenyan children are forced to work in hard, often dangerous jobs.


BangladeshOn the outskirts of Dhaka, children heat and mix rubber in a barrel at a balloon factory. Thousands of kids in Bangladesh are forced to work to help earn money for their struggling families.


NepalA boy works in a tea stall in a small village in Nepal's Rukum District. Nepal is one of the world's poorest countries, forcing huge numbers of children to do hard labor. For a majority of children in Nepal, education is a luxury.


MexicoA girl threads tobacco strings in the tobacco fields of Nayarit, Mexico. Many children working in the fields end up dropping out of school. In the surrounding communities of Nayarit, 86 percent of children do not go to school.


Ivory Coast, AfricaA boy in Tortiya looks for diamond stones in a sifter. Many children laboring in Africa work for more than 12 hours without breaks. They are often separated from their families.


ParaguayDaniel, 11, shines shoes for 33 cents in Asuncion. One of every four children under 14 works in the streets of Paraguay, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).


AfghanistanSakina, 9, and Javed, 6, work on a carpet loom at a small workshop in Kabul. Afghanistan's deep poverty forces many children to work in adult jobs.


IraqA young boy stacks bricks in the Iraqi town of Nahawan. There are more than 100 brick factories in Nahawan, located about 37 miles south of the capital city of Baghdad. Though kids work in the factories, there are no hospitals or schools nearby.


CambodiaA girl rummages through piles of garbage at a dump in Phnom Penh. She is looking for things to recycle in order to earn money for her poor family.


RwandaCharles, 10, picks up leaves on a tea plantation in Byumba. In addition to being forced to work, children in Rwanda are also used as soldiers.


MyanmarA young Burmese boy climbs on top of piles of teak wood in a government-run lumberyard in Pyin Ma Bin. The boy's job is to label the teak wood. The wood is common in Myanmar and is in high demand in Japan and most of Asia.


ChinaA young Chinese boy sells newspapers to passing drivers and cyclists in the streets of Beijing. Millions of Chinese children work because their parents can not afford to send them to school.


TexasMariella, 10, cuts onions in a field in Eagle Pass. As many as 500,000 kids in the United States work on farms for little pay to help their families earn money. Many are forced to miss months of school at a time so they can work.


Development Economics

Child Labor

Statistical source: “Every Child Counts: New Global Estimates on Child Labour”

© 2002, International Labour Organization


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Why do Children Work?

Crisis of consumption in the family

Lack of returns to schooling

Low quality or non-existent schools

Better outcomes??

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Supply and Demand Forces and CL

Children in the work force depress wages

Can make it more likely that children have to work!

Lower adult incomes

So, self-reinforcing dilemma

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Supply and Demand Forces and CL

Is banning Child Labor the Answer?

If by so doing adult wages rise enough to provide for families consumption needs – yes!

If not, then families will be worse off due to bans.

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Supply and Demand Forces and CL

What about banning imports of products made with CL?

Depressing demand for such goods will reduce the labor demand, but could just depress both child and adult wages.

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Child Labor in a Dynamic Context

Less educated parents will be more likely to be forced send kids to work.

So generations of a family can get stuck in a child labor trap.

Empirical evidence suggests that this does indeed happen.

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What do we know about the effects of Child Labor on Adult Outcomes?

Funny you should ask……

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