India accounts for 5.8 mn out of 17 mn child labour in South Asia

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NEW DELHI – In a wake-up call, a new International Labour Organisation report Tuesday highlighted that 5.8 million of almost 17 million children between five and 17 found to be engaged in child labour in South Asia are in India.

Describing the 16.7 million figure of child labour as a conservative estimate, the report released here said what is more distressing is that one in five of these children are aged 11 or under.

While India accounts for the highest number of child labourers in the region, Bangladesh accounts for 5 million, Pakistan for 3.4 million and Nepal for 2 million.

However, in relative terms, children in Nepal face the highest risk of being in child labour, with more than a quarter of 5-17 year-olds in the country engaged in child labour.

The report, “Measuring children’s work in South Asia: Perspectives from national household surveys” brings to fore that besides working on hazardous jobs, other worse forms of child labour including debt bondage, children in armed conflict, sexual exploitation and domestic child labour also exists in the region.

The first ILO South Asia report on child labour and children’s employment is based on data compiled from 2005-06 to 2011-12 fiscal years based on information gathered through national household surveys in seven South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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