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Short Essay On Child Labour In Nepal S

The incidence of child labour in Nepal is relatively high compared with other countries in South Asia.[1] According to the Nepal Labour Force Survey (NLFS) in 2008[2], 86.2% of children who were working were also studying and 13.8% of the children were working only. A comparison over the years of child labour force participation rate across gender and residence is shown in Table 1 below:

YearTotalArea of ResidenceArea of Residence

Most children (60.5%) worked up to 19 hours in 2008, while 32.2% worked 20 to 40 hours a week and 7.3% worked for more than 40 hours in a week.[2] This trend is consistent in both rural and urban areas.[2] In the 2003/2004 Nepal Living Standards Survey Statistical Report Volume II[7], it was found that the poorest consumption quintile has the highest percentage (18.7%) of child laborers who for more than 40 hours a week as compared with the rest of the consumption quintile. Also, according to Edmonds(2006)[8] female children work more hours than their male siblings. In the same study Edmonds states that the majority of child labourers work in the agricultural sector and in domestic labour.[8]

According to Ray (2004),[9] child schooling and child labour force participation rates are negatively correlated as there is a trade-off between the two variables. Thus, an increase in labour hours would mean lesser time for schooling, and lesser work hours equals to an increase in time spent for schooling.


The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines child labour as "work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development". [10] This includes work that interferes with schooling, separates children from their families, or exposes children to serious hazards. [10] The ILO's definition of child labour does not include work done outside of school hours or assistance provided to family.[10] Their reasoning is that these activities are beneficial to a child's development. [10] While the age that someone is considered a child is different in different countries UNICEF defines child labour as someone who is between 5 and 14 years old involved in economic activity or domestic work.[11]

Industries using child labour[edit]

The NLFS also found that 88.7% of the working children are being employed in the agricultural sector.[2] 1.4% of employed children work in the manufacturing sector, 0.3% work in construction sector, 1.6% work in wholesale and retail trade, 1.0% work in hotels and restaurants, 0.1% work in private households with employed persons, and 6.9% work in other types of industries.[2] About 78.1% of children working in the agricultural sector are engaged in subsistence farming.[2]

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that children in Nepal are engaged "in agriculture and the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation".[12] The report indicated other industrial activities like mining and stone breaking, weaving, and domestic service. In 2014, the Department's List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor reported bricks, carpets, embellished textiles and stones as goods produced in such labor conditions by both child laborers and forced workers.


According to Edmonds (2006)[8] the majority of children in the labour force work in the agricultural field. They also report that children aged 6-15 years old spend 9.2 hours a week working in the agriculture industry, with many more hours spent in other types of work.[8] The agricultural sector is very dangerous for children, due to their exposure to harmful chemicals and dangerous weather conditions. [13] Fafchamps (2006)[13] also reports that a child in Nepal is likely to be working in the agricultural sector if their parents are agricultural laborers and if they are located 3-7 hours away from an urban center. Even though these children spend a significant amount of time working in the fields they are often not counted in national statistics as being economically active. [14] With all of this said, Abdulai (1999)[15] reports that children working in the agricultural field do not significantly impact the agricultural output of Nepal.


The Communist Party of Nepal [CPN(M)] was composed of the People's Liberation Army and the Royal Nepal Army.[16] They instigated the Nepalese Civil War in 1996 because the Nepali government refused to address social and economic injustices.[16] During the Nepalese Civil War the People's Liberation Army and the Royal Nepal Army conscripted child soldiers ranging from fourteen years old to eighteen years old.[16] Some children joined the army due to abduction and manipulation, others due to voluntary association. [17] During the Nepalese Civil War children worked as soldiers, sentries, spies, cooks, and porters.[16] Many Nepali child soldiers witnessed traumatic events such as bombings and violent deaths.[16] The war happened in 1996 and in a study by Kohrt et al. in 2010, 15.5% of the surveyed children were still part of an army at the time of the study.[16]

Carpet Industry[edit]

The carpet industry is one of the major sources of income in Nepal and children are seen as the inexpensive labour force behind it. [18] In Nepal, about 1,800 children under fourteen years old are employed by the carpet industry.[19] In a study by Baker(2001)[18] all of the 162 Nepali children in the study spent more than six hours a day working in the carpet industry. "Social Labelling" is the work of non-governmental organizations to inform consumers about the conditions that the rug was made in.[19] "Social Labeling" has been effective in reducing child labour in the carpet industry by informing consumers about the working conditions of the factory where the rug was produced, and whether they utilize child labour. [19]

Domestic Labour[edit]

Domestic labour for children in Nepal includes childcare, cooking, shopping, fetching water, and cleaning.[8] Some children, usually young girls, are forced into domestic labour due to human trafficking. [20] According to Edmonds(2006) in one week children ages 6-15 spend 4.3 hours doing domestic work.[8] Girls typically have to do significantly more domestic work than their male siblings, and the hours girls spend on domestic work increases when there are siblings added to the household while the hours boys spend on domestic work generally stays the same. [8]

Causes of child labour[edit]


Poverty is a major cause of child labour in Nepal and is often coupled with lack of education according to a study by Ersado(2005).[21] Poverty is a driver of child labour because the costs of schooling is very high and the immediate economic benefit of child labour is enticing according to Stash(2001). [22] Not having access to schooling often leads parents to find employment for their children.[21] Children who are enrolled in school often have to work in order to afford the costs of schooling.[21] Many parents do not want their children to be idle during the day but cannot enroll them in school due to the high cost.[23] According to Ranjan (2002) this leads many parents to involve their children in the labour force.[23] Entering the labour force has immediate economic benefits for the parents, while the economic benefits from educating their children would be long term.[24]

Gender Inequality[edit]

Many parents in Nepal believe that female children should be at home doing domestic work instead of going to school according to Jamison (1987). [25] Their reasoning is that there would not be enough people supporting the household and that girls will be given away in marriage anyway.[25] Girls who do go to school are still expected to do the same amount of labour because they typically do domestic work, while boys do less labour when they are enrolled in school because they typically do market work.[23] According to Edmonds (2003)[8], female children are more likely to be involved with child labour than male children. Girls also tend to work more hours than boys, especially the oldest girl. The more children a family has, the more hours the oldest female child works. When a male child is added to the family both the oldest female and male siblings have to work an extra 1.5 hours a week, and when a female child is added to the family only the oldest female child has to work extra hours. [8] This inequality persists to adulthood, as seen by Nepal's low score on the Gender-related Development Index (GDI)[16]. Nepal has a score of 0.545, as compared to Canada's score of 0.959.[16]



Even though schooling increases a child's future income, there is a low enrollment rate by poor families.[26] Parents may feel that by enrolling their children in school they are missing out on the income that they could bring in immediately.[26] This effect is seen in a study by Ray(2002)[23] found that increasing the labour market activity of a child negatively affects their schooling experience. When a child is involved with the labour force they are less likely to be enrolled in school. [23] This effect is seen much more strongly in girls than in boys. [23]

Mental Health[edit]

There is a higher proportion of mental illnessnes such as anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for Nepali child soldiers than for Nepali children who were never conscripted.[17] This is especially true for female child soldiers as found in a study about the mental health of conscripted child soldiers by Kohrt (2008). [17] Female child soldiers also experienced gender-based stigma from their community after their work in the military.[16] One year after the war 55% of the child soldiers participating in the study were found to have PTSD. [17]

Economic Development[edit]

According to Galli (2001),[27] in the long run, child labour impedes long run economic growth through slower rate of human capital accumulation. One way in which human capital is accumulated is through education. As working takes up time for children to go to school, rate of human capital accumulation is negatively affected. Also, child labour is expanding as the economy is growing, which some see as an indication of a flawed economy. [26] Nonetheless, a study by Ersado(2005) found that children in Nepal contribute about 7% of the household income, which is quite high compared to other developing countries.[21]



Given the seriousness of the issue of child labour in Nepal, there are thousands of Governmental Organizations and numerous international non-governmental organizations that work in Nepal to tackle the problem of child labour through improving educational standards.

International Labour Organization[edit]

One of the goals of this organization is to eliminate the worst forms of child labour in Nepal.[28] They would like to strengthen the monitoring systems for child labour in order to prevent and identify the emerging sectors of child labour.[28] They also plan to assist the Government of Nepal to endorse a hazardous child labour list. [28]

Children and Women in Social Service and Human Rights (CWISH)[edit]

The goal of CWISH is to create a respectful environment towards human rights, with a focus on child rights.[29] They work to protect children from violence, sexual abuse, harassment, physical and humiliating punishment, bullying, neglect, trafficking, child labour and child marriage.[29] They advocate for better policies, better implementation, and child education along with assisting vulnerable children and their families.[29] Some of their accomplishments include helping 157495 Nepali children and has completed 83 projects.[29] One of these projects included establishing 11 municipalities that monitor child labour.[29]

Educate the Children[edit]

Educate the Children began by matching sponsors with disadvantaged children in Nepal in order to provide education.[30] They have since expanded their program to improving women's literacy and community development.[30] The three programs they currently run involve children’s education, women’s empowerment, and sustainable agricultural development.[30] Regarding children's education ETC has started an early education program that was lacking in Nepal.[30] They have also provided scholarships to help keep children in schools, and have focused their efforts on girls.[30] In addition to this ETC has improved the quality of education and schooling conditions.[30]

Proposed Solutions[edit]

Increasing access to banks could decrease the amount of child labour in Nepal.[21] Ersado (2005) found that in rural Nepal, access to a commercial bank positively affects child schooling and negatively affects child labor because access to credit allows a family to have a more stable income and have enough money to send their child to school.[21]

Another proposed solution is to provide incentives for parents to send their kids to school.[26] This could include providing enrollment subsidies and cash transfers with the condition that they enroll their children in school. [26]

Banning child labour may seem like a simple solution but its implications are that it would be very difficult to enforce the ban and it would come at a huge, immediate cost to the poor. [26] Also, banning child labour in one sector could lead children to enter other, more dangerous sectors such as prostitution.[31]

See also[edit]


Young Nepali girl working in the fields of Nepal
Young girl working in the fields of Tansen, Nepal
Young girls working in the brick kilns of Nepal
  1. ^United Nations Children's Fund, Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  2. ^ abcdefNEPAL LABOUR FORCE SURVEY 2008 STATISTICAL REPORT. Central Bureau of Statistics Thapathali, Kathmandu Nepal http://cbs.gov.np/image/data/Surveys/2015/NLFS-2008%20Report.pdf
  3. ^Central Department of Population Studies, Tribhuvan University. (1997). Child Labour Situation In Nepal p.34.Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  4. ^Government of Nepal, Central Bureau of Statistics, National Planning Commission Secretariat. (2004). Nepal Living Standard Survey 2003/04 Statistical Report Volume II p.53.Archived 2010-05-24 at the Wayback Machine., Retrieved 18 January 2012.
  5. ^"Government of Nepal, Central Bureau of Statistics, National Planning Commission Secretariat. (2009). Nepal Labour Force Survey 2008 Statistical Report p. 135.Archived February 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  6. ^Government of Nepal, Central Bureau of Statistics/The United Nations Children's Fund. (2011). Findings from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2010 in the Mid-and Far-Western Regions, Nepal p.14., Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  7. ^NEPAL LIVING STANDARDS SURVEY 2003/04 STATISTICAL REPORT VOLUME TWO. CENTRAL BUREAU OF STATISTICS National Planning Commission Secretariat His Majesty’s Government of Nepal December 2004.
  8. ^ abcdefghiEdmonds, Eric V. (2006). "Understanding sibling differences in child labor"(PDF). Journal of Population Economics. 19: 795–821. doi:10.1007/s00148-005-0013-3 – via JSTOR. 
  9. ^Ray, R. (2004). Child Labour and Child Schooling in South Asia: A Cross Country Study of their Determinants., Retrieved 18 January 2012.
  10. ^ abcd"What is child labour". International Labour Organization. Retrieved November 7, 2017. 
  11. ^"UNICEF - Definitions". www.unicef.org. Retrieved 2017-11-08. 
  12. ^Nepal, 2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor
  13. ^ abFafchamps, Marcel (2006). "Child labor, urban proximity and household composition"(PDF). Institute of Labor Economics: 1–37 – via Econstor. 
  14. ^Dixon, Ruth B. (1982). "Women in Agriculture: Counting the Labor Force in Developing Countries"(PDF). Population and Development Review. 8: 539–566. doi:10.2307/1972379 – via Population Council. 
  15. ^Abdulai, Awudu (1999). "Estimating labor supply of farm households under nonseparability: empirical evidence from Nepal"(PDF). Agricultural Economics. 22: 309–320. doi:10.1111/j.1574-0862.2000.tb00077.x – via Elsevier. 
  16. ^ abcdefghiKohrt, Brandon A. (2010). "Social Ecology of Child Soldiers: Child, Family, and Community Determinants of Mental Health, Psychosocial Wellbeing, and Reintegration in Nepal"(PDF). Transcult Psychiatry. 5: 1–23 – via ncbi. 
  17. ^ abcdKohrt, Brandon A. (2008). "Comparison of Mental Health Between Former Child Soldiers and Children Never Conscripted by Armed Groups in Nepal". JAMA. 6: 691–702 – via American Medical Association. 
  18. ^ abBaker, Rachel (2001). "Approaches to Children's Work and Rights in Nepal". The Annals of the American Academy. 575: 176–193. doi:10.1177/000271620157500111. 
  19. ^ abcChakrabarty, Sayan (2009). "Child Labor in Carpet Weaving: Impact of Social Labeling in India and Nepal"(PDF). World Development. 37: 1683–1693. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2009.03.013 – via Elsevier. 
  20. ^Tsutsumi, Atsuro; Izutsu, Takashi; Poudyal, Amod K.; Kato, Seika; Marui, Eiji. "Mental health of female survivors of human trafficking in Nepal". Social Science & Medicine. 66 (8): 1841–1847. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.12.025. 
  21. ^ abcdefErsado, Lire (2005). "Child Labor and Schooling Decisions in Urban and Rural Areas: Comparative Evidence from Nepal, Peru, and Zimbabwe"(PDF). World Development. 33: 455–480. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2004.09.009 – via Elsevier Science Direct. 
  22. ^"Who Goes to School? Educational Stratification by Gender, Caste, and Ethnicity in Nepal on JSTOR"(PDF). doi:10.1086/447676.pdf. 
  23. ^ abcdefRay, Ranjan (2002). "Simultaneous Analysis of Child Labour and Child Schooling: Comparative Evidence from Nepal and Pakistan". Economic and Political Weekly. 37 (52): 5215–5224. doi:10.2307/4413018. 
  24. ^Thapa, Shyam (1996). "Poverty, Literacy and Child Labour in Nepal: A District-level Analysis"(PDF). Asia-Pacific Population Journal. 11: 3–14. 
  25. ^ abJamison, T.; Lockheed, Marlaine E. (1987). "Participation in Schooling: Determinants and Learning Outcomes in Nepal". Economic Development and Cultural Change. 35 (2): 279–306. doi:10.1086/451586. 
  26. ^ abcdefRavallion, Martin; Wodon, Quentin (2000). "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy". The Economic Journal. 110 (462): C158–C175. doi:10.2307/2565729. 
  27. ^Galli, R. (2001) . The Economic Impact of Child Labour., Retrieved 18 February 2012 (archived from the originalArchived March 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. on 2012-03-01).
  28. ^ abc"DECENT WORK COUNTRY PROGRAMME"(PDF). International Labour Organization. 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2017. 
  29. ^ abcde"CWISH Nepal". www.cwish.org.np. Retrieved 2017-11-13. 
  30. ^ abcdef"Educate the Children Nepal – Working with women and children in Nepal to improve health, welfare, and self-sufficiency by building skills that families can pass down to later generations". www.etc-nepal.org. Retrieved 2017-11-16. 
  31. ^Basu, Kaushik (2003). "The Global Child Labor Problem: What do we Know and what can we do?"(PDF). The World Bank Economic Review. 17: 147–173. doi:10.1093/wber/lhg021. 

Picture Courtesy: theguardian.com

Simply, the word child means any human under the age of 18. Below this age they are considered as physically, mentally & socially ill-matured. Child are the innocent, curious, active & enthusiastic beings by nature.

Every human beings needs freedom, justice & peace. Children naturally wants to enjoy their rights in a friendly environment. They learn & experience new things which makes them responsible. This is possible only if they can enjoy their rights without hindrance. Rights are the basic requirements to enhance & promote their personality development. The basic child rights includes proper food, shelter, health care & education. Beyond this the essential child rights are as follows.

Rights to identity: – Each & every children have their rights to name & nationality from birth, ensuring their protection from the country. If the birth of a child is not registered then they will not be recognized by the country & they will not get care & education.

Rights to health: – All the children should be cared for if sick, be well fed and kept away from harmful drugs.

Rights to education: – All the children have the right to get education & develop training skills which prepare them for their future.

Rights to a family life: – All the children have the right to live with their family. They also have the right to live with others if their own family do not take care of them.

Rights to an opinion: – Each & every children have the rights to express their views, feelings & thoughts. They also have the rights to be informed & give their opinion.

Rights to equality & respect: – Children have equal rights. They should not be discriminated. They should not be differ by race, religion, language

Rights to be protected from violence: – Children be protected from violence. They should not be forced in such activities which affects them physically & mentally. They should not be obliged to suffer or inflict ill treatment or any act of sexual & physical violence.

Rights to be protected from exploitation: – A child should not be obliged to work in difficult or dangerous condition in order to survive or support his family.

Rights to be protected from armed conflicts: – Children’s should not be used in war. All children must be protected from war & its consequences.

Children aged below 14 are not considered eligible for employment. But in Nepal the condition of children is not uniform. There are many children can’t go school. Some of them are children of poor parents. Their parents compel them to work. Because of poverty they can’t get a balanced diet & are not properly cared for. Orphans & street children are in miserable conditions. They cannot get even food to live on. Most of them we see sleeping on the road sides or the temples & other public places. Their condition is worse than a dog’s. Most of them beg walking on the roadsides, temples & public places. Some of the children are working in the hotels, factories, coal mines, carpet industries, restaurant & bars, public vehicles like micro-bus as a conductor. Some poor children are kept by the rich as servants, where they are compelled to do lots of works.

Because of the social & economic conditions, the child labor issue is a rather difficult problem to tackle. Some of the major NGO’s like CWIN, SOS, UNDP,UNICEF especially support the orphans, street children & children who are not getting the care & love from their family & society.

The national master plan on child labor has also emphasized on the issue & has launched many activities for the development of child & elimination of child labor. This issue has been taken up by the UN agencies, the World Bank, NGOs & INGOs working in child rights in Nepal.

In order to provide & promote child rights all the concerned sectors should pay their complete attention. Firstly the children should be provide basic needs such as food, shelter & clothes. Education should be made compulsory for all the children. The discrimination between sons & daughters should be avoided. All the street children, orphan, poor, uncared & unloved child should be fed, cared for & educated.

Although awareness against the child rights & child labor is rapidly increasing, many organizations are supporting child rights but the ignorance is still remaining. We found many street child sleeping on roadside, begging at temples, working at restaurants, public vehicles, factories & other places. The government should take steps to completely ban the child labor. At least basic school level education should be compulsory for all the children. Every adult should be responsible for promoting child rights. All the legal provisions to stop child labor & to promote child rights should be strictly implemented. Then only we can hope for a better future for children.

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