Child Labour

The Arab States have witnessed a unprecedented wave of armed conflicts and population displacement in recent years, which has coincided with an increase in child labour among refugees, the internally displaced and vulnerable host populations across the region. Children, both girls and boys, are found working in rural and urban areas, in all sectors, industry, agriculture and services, and often in the most hazardous jobs.  All Arab States have ratified the two most important ILO conventions related to child labour: the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) and have committed to combatting child labour. With ILO support, countries around the region are developing national action plans to prevent and address child labour, improving data on the subject, and implementing programmes to reduce the incidence of child labour, particularly in its worst forms. See more…

Facts & Figures

  • Global estimates indicate that about 3 percent of all children in the Arab States region are involved in child labour – with the poorest countries showing highest rates of child employment.
  • Half of these children (1.5 percent) are in hazardous work. Of the 1.2 million children in child labour in the Arab States, 616,000 are in hazardous work. In terms of prevalence of child labour and children in hazardous work, both figures are the lowest in the world.
  • 60 percent of all child labour in the region –  that is 700,000 boys and girls – work in agriculture. This includes subsistence and commercial farming, as well as livestock herding; most is unpaid and takes place within the family unit.
  • Of the remaining children in work, 318,000 (27 percent) are in the services sector and 144,000 (13 percent) are found in industry.
  • Child labourers are generally older than those in other parts of the world – 38 percent of those in child labour are 5-11 years old, 32 percent are 12-15 years old, and 30 percent are between 15 and 17 years old.
Source: ILO 2017 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery and Child Labour