January 09, 2015

Take The Test: What jobs are these child labourers doing?

Ewan Watt

Online Editor, Theirworld

Child labour is a major reason why children don't go to school in many countries - our Take The Test highlights some of the countries and the tasks undertaken by youngsters.

Welcome to the second in our series called Take The Test - where you can learn about the barriers that prevent 58 million children around the world going to school.

Last month, we set the question: Where in the world are these schools?  In this test, we're asking you identify what task each child is carrying out.

The sad reality is that child labour is a major reason why children don't go to school in many countries. Child labour involves children who are either too young to work or involved in activities which compromise their mental, physical, social or educational development. According to the United Nations children's agency UNICEF in November 2014, there are believed to be about 150 million child labourers. About 13% of children aged five to 14 in developing countries are involved in child labour - in sub-Saharan Africa that rises to 25%.

As you Take The Test, you can click on the links to learn more facts about child labour. The answers are at the end. And when you've finished, please sign the #UpForSchool Petition, which demands that world leaders keep to their promise to send all children to school without fear of danger, discrimination or obstacles such as child labour. 

Question 1

Children working in the northern mountains of Vietnam

Photo credit: ILO/Tran Quoc Dung

These indigenous children are working in the northern mountains of Vietnam, where just under one in 10 of youngsters aged five to 17 are child labourers, according to the International Labour Organization in 2014. 

Most live in the countryside and do unpaid agricultural work for their families. 

But what are the children in this picture doing?

Question 2

Bangladeshi child labourers wash their hands before lunch

Photo credit: Getty/Munir Uz Zaman

The minimum legal age for employment in Bangladesh is 14 - but UNICEF says 93% of child labourers work in small factories and workshops, on the street, in home-based businesses and domestic employment, where is it almost impossible to enforce the law. 

What are these children doing?

Question 3

Child labourers in Kampot, Cambodia

Photo credit: ILO/M. Barton

Just under 29% of children aged five to 14 in Cambodia - about 888,000 - were working, according to 2013 findings by the United States Department of Labor. Almost 85% of those worked in agriculture and 28% of children aged five to 14 combined work and going to school. 

What are these young girls doing?

Question 4

Child labourer in Ghana

Photo credit: Facebook/International Initiative to End Child Labor

One in six children aged six to 14 in Ghana are involved in child labour, says the Child Labor Coalition - most in agriculture but a large number also in fishing. Many children are trafficked to work in the country's fishing industry, where they paddle boats, haul nets and perform domestic chores. 

What is this young girl doing?

Question 5

Child labourer in Mangalore, India

Photo credit: ILO/M. Crozet

More than 82,000 child and bonded labourers have beenrescued by Bachpan Bachao Andolan, the movement founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi. Children who belong to castes or tribes are more likely than other children to be engaged in child labour. 

What is this young boy doing?

Question 6

Child working on the streets of Heran, Afghanistan

Photo credit: Getty/Aref Karimi

Child labour is common in Afghanistan, with 17% of girls aged between seven and 14 either working outside the home or doing full-time household chores, according to UNICEF. The girl pictured is eight-year-old Fatima, who says: "My only and biggest dream is to have some money, so that I don't need to work anymore and can go to school and study just like other girls." 

What is she doing?

Question 7

Child labors wor on the streets of Sanaa, Yemen

Photo credit: Getty/Anadolu Agency

Yemen is the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula. The country's first national child labour survey showed that more than 1.3 million children in Yemen aged five to 17 (17% of the child population) are involved in child labour, including 469,000 in the five to 11 age group. The 2013 report by the ILO, the Social Development Fund and UNICEF said working children and child labourers are far more likely than others not to attend school or to drop out of school. 

What is this child doing?

Question 8

Child working in the Philippines

Photo credit: ILO/Joseph Fortin

In the Philippines, millions of children are working in hazardous labour. A 2013 report by the United States Department of Labor said a national survey showed 3.21 million child labourers - with 2.99 million of them doing hazardous work. in areas such as agriculture and industry. Many are also domestic servants. 

What is this boy doing?

Question 9

Child works along the streets of Medellin, Colombia

Photo credit: AFP/Raul Arboleda

This picture was taken in Colombia on World Day Against Child Labour in 2013. The country's Ministry of Labour reported that 1.1 million children, almost 10% of all minors, were working to sustain themselves or their families. 

What is this boy doing?

Question 10

Child labourer in Myanmar

Photo credit: ILO

This girl is a Burmese migrant working in Thailand, where 13% of children aged five to 14 are working. A 2013 report by the ILO found widespread forced and child labour in the country's multibillion-dollar fishing industry. 

What is this girl doing?

Question 11

Child labourer in Bamako, Mali

Photo credit: ILO/M. Crozet

In Mali, two out of three children aged five to 17 - more than 3 million children - work, according to the ILO. Few of them go to school and 40% of children aged 5 to 14 perform hazardous tasks. Human Rights Watch said in 2013 the government of Mali should take immediate action to address child labour in mining instead of denying its existence.

What is this boy doing?


  1. The children in Vietnam are mining.
  2. They're washing their hands before lunch at an aluminium pot factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  3. These young girls in Cambodia's Kampot province are working in a basket factory.
  4. The girl from Ghana is carrying a pesticide backpack sprayer on a farm.
  5. The Indian boy is loading ice to take on a fishing boat in Mangalore to preserve its catch of fish.
  6. Fatima is pushing her ice cream cart along the streets of Herat, Afghanistan, where she works from 7am to 4pm.
  7. The girl is working on the streets in Sanaa, Yemen. Child labourers sell souvenirs, water, handkerchieves and wipe car windows.
  8. The Filipino boy boy is operating machinery at a plantation in Bacolod.
  9. This Colombian indigenous boy works selling candy along the streets of Medellin.
  10. Sun is working in a Thai shrimp peeling plant.
  11. This child in Mali is working as a tinsmith in Soukounicoura.
  • Act
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