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Child Laborer Rights

Under "RESTORING CHILDHOOD" program, “Community Based Child Laborer's Rights Protection and Promotion Action” project is running in Kathmandu valley ever since the inception of the program in 2010. Kathmandu valley alone is the home of 200000 child labors. Out of which, 58000 are employed for domestic work. Domestic  child laborer (DCL), is categorized by ILO in 1989 as most vulnerable and exploited group of  economically active children and the most difficult to protect citing their non contact to the outer world.

Child labor is a grave and massive violation of child rights, not just because children have to work; rather it blockades children from enjoying other several rights and also increases their vulnerability towards violence and abuse. An estimated 246 million children are engaged in child labor – one in six children in the world.


At a time when children should be acquiring the skills, knowledge, values, and sense of personal worth that produces self reliant, civilized and proud citizen; children are being exploited as mere commodities and cheap labor. They are robbed of their childhood.

Who is Child Domestic Worker?

A child domestic worker is a person under 18 years of age performing domestic chores in the home of a third party, with or without remuneration. This is distinct from children performing household chores within their own homes.

The types of tasks performed by child domestic workers appear to be similar across countries; they include fetching water, cleaning, dishwashing, cooking, babysitting, serving food, and purchasing daily household essentials. There is currently fifty six thousand child domestic labor in Nepal.

Why does ILO tag Child Domestic Labor as a worst form of labor?

Domestic work remains one of the most common, traditionally and culturally accepted forms of work for children, particularly for girls. Indeed, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are more girls under sixteen years old exploited in domestic work than in any other category of child labor. Child domestic work is carried out in private homes, and thus it is hidden from view and eludes public scrutiny and control. This makes child domestic workers (CDWs) particularly vulnerable to exploitation, including excessively long hour work, and physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Their heavy work burden also often leaves them unable to attend or complete schooling. Lacking any form of social or legal protection, their well-beings entirely dependent on the whims of their employers. Therefore, all most of domestic child laborers have to live a life of misery and uncertainty.

Child labor in Nepal

The  International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are 246 million child laborers worldwide. Asia is home to some of the most economically dynamic countries in the world. At the same time, this region has the greatest concentration of the world’s poorest people and consequently produces 60 percent of the world‘s child labor. 

The perilous problem of child labor occurs throughout a number of South Asian nations. According to the World Bank, India has over 10 million working children, Bangladesh over 6 million, and Pakistan over 3 million. Nepal is notable because the 2 million Nepalese workers make up over one quarter of all Nepalese children. Thus, although some countries have a greater absolute number of child workers, the proportion of child workers is significantly greater in Nepal than in other countries. There are fifty six thousand children involved in domestic work, one of the worst forms of child labor. Children in Nepal are involved in numerous labors such as plantation, construction work, domestic work, commercial sex exploitation, factory, porter, street work  etc.

Causes of Child Labor in Nepal

What causes this incredibly high rate of children in labor? There are numerous theories that account for the high rate of child labor in Nepal. First, one must consider the nation’s financial situation. Labeled as one of the poorest and most undeveloped nations in the world, Nepal’s poor economic status contributes to the high rate of child labor and poverty. Nepal has a gross national product of $220 per capita and has 45% of the population living below the international poverty line of roughly $1 per day. When families are faced with monetary hardships, they are often forced to send their children to work, sometimes in extremely hazardous conditions, merely to attain basic subsistence. 

The illiteracy of the parents, myth of the city life, lack of access to as well as the low perceived value of education, disharmony and diminishing family support, socioeconomic inequality and abject poverty all together contribute to the rise of the number of child labors in this poor country.

On the demand side, in the context of child labor being culturally and socially accepted, cheap and service at demand (any time) all together make a child labor tradition is in high demand. The society at large remains unaware of ill effects of child labor, both to the individual child and to the nation. Societal attitude remains largely indifferent to this issue.

Inadequate legal provision on safeguarding child rights and preventing child labor is grossly promoting the tradition to hire children as laborer. However, only legal provision and effective enforcement can’t guarantee the change since this child labor issue is inextricably linked with the socioeconomic condition of the  people.

What Access does for Child Domestic labor

This Child domestic laborer is one of the target groups of Access. In 2003, the literacy rate of the Nepalese population above 15 years of age was 45.2%. One of the most effective ways to combat child labor is to change misunderstanding from within. This can only be done through education. Education acts not only as a means to develop the minds of children, but also as a foundation for social change. With Education as a major tool of intervention, following activities have been continuously performed by Access for the rights of child domestic worker.

Running Out Reach Center (ORCs)
ORC  is a class room situated within a walking distance of domestic child labors. The class which runs for 2 hours a day provides an informal education to child domestic laborer. Besides this, recreational activities, awareness and counseling are also provided to child laborer to develop their mind and acquire a broader understanding of ill effects of child labor and also learn the skill to protect oneself from abuse and exploitation. Thus, every child visited the ORC are made prepared in one year’s time either to join a school for formal education, or reunite with family withdrawing this exploitative and hazardous profession. Currently ORCs are running in 4 different places serving 80 plus out of school domestic child labors.

School Education Support
Child  domestic labors are supported with scholarship for school uniform, stationery and textbook while remaining cost for admission fee and tuition fee are paid by the employer making them responsible for child education. Currently 50 domestic child labors have been continuously supported for school education.

Employer and Community Orientation
The employers and the community people are oriented on ill-effects of hiring child domestic labor, child rights and child protection. This not only prepares a conducive environment to child domestic workers to come to ORC for informal education and ultimately mainstream them into formal school education, but also mobilizes community for child rights protection and promotion initiatives.  

Child Protection Committee (CPC)
Child protection committee(CPC) , comprising of local community people is formed in line with government policy on child rights policy with affiliation with the local government agency such as VDC (village development committee) and ward. CPC members are trained and mobilized for child rights protection, including child domestic labor exploitation. There are 6 CPCs actively working in their community for child rights. .

Media Campaign
To end this modern day slavery, the need of a comprehensive and well co-ordinated media campaign is hugely felt to nationalize this massive child rights violation issue. For both mass awareness on child domestic labor and pressurize the government for strict law and policy to end child labor, the media campaign can be a milestone and hopefully this campaign will see the day of light soon with your support. The campaign helps Nepalese society attain a common understanding of the negative effects child labor has on their children, their families, their economy, and their county.

Rescue, Relief and Support
Children including domestic laborers are vulnerable to violence, abuse and harms. In such case of abuse, Access with the help of community people, CPC, police and other social organizations rescue a child and provides legal and health services. Access aids a child until justice is served. Then the child is reintegrated with the family with a proper support.

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