Child Labour


Child –according to the laws of Kenya a child is a person below the age of 18 years. However, according to the international labor organization convention number 138 of 1996 .The minimum age of admission for employment is 14 years (compare to employment at 2007)

Child labor – refers to any situation where a child provides labor in exchange for payment, and includes any situation where:

  • A child provides labor as an assistant to another person and the child’s work is taken to be that of the other person for the purposes of payment
  • A child’s labor is used for gain by an individual or institution whether or not the child benefits either directly or indirectly
  • There is in existence a contact for services where the party providing the services is a child whether the person using the services do so directly or through someone else

Child work means any work that is not harmful to the child’s health or all that that a child does to foster education

Child work

Not all the work done by children should be classified as child labor that should be targeted for elimination. Children participation in work that does not affect their health and personal development or interferes with their schooling is generally regarded as something positive. It include:-

  1. Helping parents around the home.
  2. Assisting in a family business.
  3. Earning pocket money after school hours or during holidays.

These activities contribute to child development and welfare of the family, they provide children with experience and skills and prepare them to be productive members of the society in future.


It is giving children a job that should be done by adult to earn a living.

It refers to work that deprives children of their childhood their potential and their dignity and that are harmful to physical and mental development.

It refers to the work that is mentally, physical, socially, morally, dangerous and harmful to children and interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school, making them leaving school prematurely or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendants with excessively long hours and heavy work.


  • Herding
  • Selling/ peddling illicit drugs
  • Hawking
  • Transport operators


  1. All forms of slavery or practices similar i.e. selling and trafficking of children , death bondage and surf dorm and compulsory labor, recruitment of children for use in harmed conflict
  2. Use of children in child prostitution or production of pornography
  3. Working under the difficult conditions e.g. very long hours during night or working where the child is confined in the premises of the employer
  4. Use of children in drug trafficking


  • Large families require a variety of income to feed their members
  • Some jobs require small hand and bodies
  • It’s cheaper to pay smaller children because they are likely to complain about the salary amore than adults
  • Girls are often kept at home to look after younger children and to do household work
  • Family think that school won’t help their children survive therefore they send their child to work where they can make money to feed themselves and family members
  • Many families around the world are unfamiliar with the rights of the children and think it is acceptable to send the children to work. Agricultural jobs pay per amount of produce picked to encourage families to bring along their children.


  1. POVERTY – lack of money forces the child to work in order to help their parent to acquire basic needs.
  2. DEATH some children work because they have lost their parents they have nobody to feed them. They work to raise money for their fees or siblings.
  3. DROPPING OUT OF SCHOOL some children have dropped out of school e.g. because of pregnancy, indiscipline, lack of school fees, poor academic these have lead them taking up a job to earn money.
  4. LACK OF SCHOOLING there are children who have never had a chance to go to school e.g. because of parent ignorance, lack of interest and cultural values. These children often start wage employment at early age.
  5. CULTURAL VALUE – some children drop out of school due to cultural values i.e. circumcision. They see no need of schooling once they have been circumcised and declared as adult they regard schooling as a task for children.
  6. LURE BY EMPLOYER since children are a source of cheap labor employer lures them into wage employment. Since children do not understand their labor rights they are exploited by the employers they may be underpaid or overworked. They may work for many gears or casual.

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