Mapping of research on child labour in South Asia

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Helpdesk Query:

Who is carrying out or commissioning research on child labour in South Asia (both South Asian and International players) and what research are they doing?

Summary:

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), ‘Child labour is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development’. It involves the participation in work that affects their health and personal development or interferes with their schooling, rather than assisting around the house, helping in the family business after school, or earning pocket money.

Child labour is an issue of immense concern in South Asia with conservative estimates suggesting that (excluding Afghanistan) there are 17 million children in child labour and 50 million children out of school. Although India and Bangladesh have the most children in child labour, Nepal has the highest percentage of children in child labour in South Asia. There are also significant levels of children undertaking hazardous forms of labour in South Asia.

This Help Desk Report aims to map out research on child labour in South Asia, specifically: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, as well as Myanmar (Burma). The report focuses on major projects being carried out by international organisations with an examination of their expenditure on research, as well as local partners. The report also highlights the research being carried out by local organisations and what their areas of focus and capacity are. Finally the report examines the key academics working on child labour and what their main focus is. The aim of the report is to create an understanding of who is conducting and funding research in South Asia and what their main focus is in order to highlight potential partners for future research projects.

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