Combating child labour: A handbook for labour inspectors

This handbook will be a most useful instrument for labour inspectors in that it provides an overview of what their role can be with respect to child labour, and shows how to focus in on the problem, not only in the urban factory or establishment, but the informal sector workshops, rural communities and fields as well.

Instructional material | 01 January 2002
This handbook provides those working in the field of labour inspection with basic information to understand and take action against children’s work that is dangerous, exploitative, and compromises their future. For inspectors in the field, it offers suggestions on how to assess abuse and risk, how to evaluate a particular situation holistically, and how to work towards action-oriented decisions. It contains advice on the training process and on elements to include in a training programme. Finally, it describes tools that labour inspectors may find useful in assessing child labour problems.

The handbook is organized into four major sections. The first outlines some of the basic facts about child labour; particularly the hazardous forms which are the matters of greatest concern to labour inspectors, and presents the ILO Conventions on child labour and on labour inspection that constitute the international legal framework for child labour action. The second section, consisting of two parts, reviews on the one hand the challenges with which the labour inspectorate must contend at both national and local levels, and on the other hand two new approaches to these problems which might offer a new way for labour inspectorates to address the problem of child labour. In line with these, the next section describes in more detail how these approaches might be put into practice. Starting with the pre-conditions or necessary foundation to be put into place (Chapter 5), then the elements of the inspection activities themselves (Chapter 6), and finally the follow-up that will be required to ensure that the situation of identified child workers is definitely improved (Chapter 7), these sections offer a simple “before, during and after” map which labour inspectors might find useful. The fourth and final part describes possible elements of a training programme that would prepare inspectors and their partners to undertake this type of approach.