Combating Child Labor

This task force gives students the responsibility of creating an individualized plan for combatting child labor in their assigned country.

Task Force: Combatting Child Labor


You have been put in charge of combatting child labor in a country that will be assigned to you. It is your job to create an individualized plan for the designated country to tackle the pressing issue. You will find case studies and the U.S. Department of Labor’s country profile for various countries attached below.

 Why Are We Doing This?:

There are approximately 152 million victims of child labor according to the International Labour Organization’s 2017 data. Every country is plagued with child labor in a different manner. The goal here is for you to think about various steps that need to be taken in order to decrease rates of child labor in the country assigned to you. 


  1. Review your country’s case study attached at the bottom of this Task Force.
  2. Then, choose ONE factor (protect vulnerable children, target industries, or increasing Educational and Economic Opportunities) to come up with a plan for and answer the following questions:
    1. What needs to change?
    2. Why does it need to change?
    3. Who needs to make the change?
    4. How will they make this change?
  3. Think through the possible objections that someone could have and how you would answer them.
  4. Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your plan should be adopted to combat child labor in your assigned country!

You will find an example at the bottom of this document.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  •   You don’t have to worry about answering all possible objections, but you should have some defense of why you think your reasons are more important.
  •   Your plan should include things that governments could realistically implement. 


  1. Nicaragua
  2. Bangladesh
  3. Afghanistan
  4. Ghana
  5. Democratic Republic of the Congo


Industries: Bananas, Coffee, Gold, Gravel, Shellfish, Pumice Stone, Tobacco
Vulnerable Children:
  • Living in poor, rural areas
  • Migrants from the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras)
  • Lacking identification documents
    • i.e. birth certificate
    • Estimated 15% of children in Nicaragua do not have birth certificates
Education Access:
  • Education is free and compulsory
    • Unclear what age education is no longer compulsory
  • Cost of school supplies and transportation create barriers for children in poor, rural areas to attend school
  • Investment and attendance rates in secondary school are much lower than primary school attendance and investment
US Department of Labor Nicaragua Child Labor Profile:


Industries: Hand-Rolled Cigarettes, Bricks, Dried Fish, Footwear, Steel Furniture, Garments, Glass, Leather, Matches, Poultry, Salt, Shrimp, Soap, Textiles
Vulnerable Children:
  • Around 350,000 Rohingya children live in refugee camps in Bangladesh
    • Vulnerable to forced labor
  • Children from poor, rural areas are more likely to be involved with informal work
    • This work is more likely to be dangerous, require long hours, and pay inadequate wages
Education Access:
  • Compulsory education changed from age 10 to age 14
    • The legal framework does not yet reflect this change, so it is not enforced.
  • Inadequate access to water and sanitation facilities as well as school-related costs (i.e. materials and uniforms) prevent children from attending school
  • Rohingya children are not allowed to attend schools in Bangladesh because they lack documentation
    • UNICEF, UNESCO, and UNHCR provide limited education for Rohingya children
US Department of Labor Profile:


Industries: Bricks, Carpets, Coal, Flowers (Poppies), Salt
Vulnerable Children:
  • Violence and lack of opportunity cause children to migrate in search of work, not to attend school. 
    • Unaccompanied minors are more vulnerable to being trafficked.
  • Non-state groups (i.e. the Taliban) recruit children
    • Children of poor families are vulnerable because families may receive cash payments for sending their children to Taliban-run schools.
  • Families in regions affected by droughts may resort to child labor or selling daughters for marriage to pay debts.
Education Access:
  • Around 3.7 million school-age children are not in school.
    •  60% of children out of school are girls.
  • Barriers to education:
    • Displacement due to conflict, schools used as military bases, attacks on schools, distance between home and school, education fees, lack of identity documentation
  • Barriers for girls:
    • Discrimination, lack of hygiene facilities, few women teachers, lack of parental consent
US Department of Labor Profile:


Industries: Cocoa, Fish, Gold, Tilapia
Vulnerable Children:
  • Children are especially vulnerable to trafficking within Ghana for labor in cocoa harvesting, domestic work, gold mining, and fishing.
  • Children as young as 4 years old are subject to forced labor in fishing areas around Lake Volta
  • Girls 13 years old and up often travel from the rural northern region of Ghana to urban areas to work in markets transporting heavy loads on top of their heads
    • Known as kayayei
    • Vulnerable to abuse and exploitation
Education Access:
  • Kindergarten through middle school is compulsory and free in Ghana
  • School-related fees limiting access to education, including uniforms and materials
  • Limiting factors:
    • Shortage of classrooms, long distances to schools, absence of sanitation facilities, overcrowding in urban areas, physical violence, verbal abuse
  • Government efforts:
    • Building schools to reduce the distance to school, providing uniforms, removing birth registration requirements, providing free high school education
    • Free high school caused overcrowding in schools
  • Government plan to reduce overcrowding:
    • Students 13 to 17 may go to school less often to pursue vocational training or other opportunities
    • These opportunities are not widely available, so many are out of school and vulnerable to recruitment
US Department of Labor Profile:



Industries: Cobalt Ore, Copper, Diamonds, Gold, Coltan, Tin Ore, Tungsten Ore
Vulnerable Children:
  • Only 14% of children under 5 years old have birth certificates, leaving them vulnerable to child labor because there is no way to verify their age.
  • Children as young as 5 years old are vulnerable to abduction and recruitment into armed conflict
    • There are between 125 and 150 foreign and indigenous non-state armed groups within the DRC
    • Estimated that 40-70% of those groups recruit and abduct children
  • Forced mining is included in the worst forms of child labor
    • Extremely prevalent in the DRC due to the country’s natural resources and the government’s inability to enforce the law.
Education Access:
  • The government has made primary education free, however:
    • Laws were not implemented throughout the country
    • Some families must pay for uniforms, books, tuition, and additional fees. As a result, many children are out of school.
  • Schools are overcrowded, understaffed, structurally damaged by conflicts, occupied by internally displaced persons, or require students to travel long distances
  • Long distances student travel to schools raise concerns of violence and the potential to be abducted 
US Department of Labor Profile:

Example: Thailand

Method of Combating Child Labor What needs to change? Why does it need to change? Who needs to make the change? How will they make this change?
Protect Vulnerable Children Migrant children are particularly vulnerable to hazardous work in the seafood industry. These children work long hours, do hazardous work, and, as a result, experience health issues. Thai-based seafood companies and the Thai government. Companies need to reduce the hours migrant children are working. The Thai government must increase access to basic education for migrant children by providing public school applications in multiple languages and Thai as a second language courses in school.
Target Industries Children from Burma, Laos, and Cambodia are lured into the commercial sex industry through the internet and social media. These children are exploited in Thai massage parlors, bars, karaoke lounges, hotels, and live internet broadcasts. Social media companies and the Thai government. Social media companies need to prevent traffickers and exploiters from targeting children by improving software to detect the mention of sex trafficking or exploitation. The Thai officials need to improve the detection of trafficking victims from Burma, Laos, and Cambodia upon entry to Thailand. The government also needs to do routine inspections of businesses known for exploiting children for sexual purposes.
Increasing Educational and Economic Opportunities Ethnic minorities and migrant children struggle to access basic education due to language barriers. Without the opportunity to attend and excel in school, ethnic minorities and migrants are more likely to engage in child labor.  Thai government Offer public school applications in multiple languages or offer interpreter services. Create Thai as a second language courses in all public schools. Offer ethnic studies and ethnic minority language courses for ethnic minorities to feel more comfortable and welcome in school.