Short Essay On Child Labour In Nepal S

The incidence of child labour in Nepal is relatively high compared with other countries in South Asia.[1] According to the Nepal Labour Force Survey (NLFS) in 2008[2], 86.2% of children who were working were also studying and 13.8% of the children were working only. A comparison over the years of child labour force participation rate across gender and residence is shown in Table 1 below:

YearTotalArea of ResidenceArea of Residence

Most children (60.5%) worked up to 19 hours in 2008, while 32.2% worked 20 to 40 hours a week and 7.3% worked for more than 40 hours in a week.[2] This trend is consistent in both rural and urban areas.[2] In the 2003/2004 Nepal Living Standards Survey Statistical Report Volume II[7], it was found that the poorest consumption quintile has the highest percentage (18.7%) of child laborers who for more than 40 hours a week as compared with the rest of the consumption quintile. Also, according to Edmonds(2006)[8] female children work more hours than their male siblings. In the same study Edmonds states that the majority of child labourers work in the agricultural sector and in domestic labour.[8]

According to Ray (2004),[9] child schooling and child labour force participation rates are negatively correlated as there is a trade-off between the two variables. Thus, an increase in labour hours would mean lesser time for schooling, and lesser work hours equals to an increase in time spent for schooling.


The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines child labour as "work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development". [10] This includes work that interferes with schooling, separates children from their families, or exposes children to serious hazards. [10] The ILO's definition of child labour does not include work done outside of school hours or assistance provided to family.[10] Their reasoning is that these activities are beneficial to a child's development. [10] While the age that someone is considered a child is different in different countries UNICEF defines child labour as someone who is between 5 and 14 years old involved in economic activity or domestic work.[11]

Industries using child labour[edit]

The NLFS also found that 88.7% of the working children are being employed in the agricultural sector.[2] 1.4% of employed children work in the manufacturing sector, 0.3% work in construction sector, 1.6% work in wholesale and retail trade, 1.0% work in hotels and restaurants, 0.1% work in private households with employed persons, and 6.9% work in other types of industries.[2] About 78.1% of children working in the agricultural sector are engaged in subsistence farming.[2]

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that children in Nepal are engaged "in agriculture and the worst forms of child labor in commercial sexual exploitation".[12] The report indicated other industrial activities like mining and stone breaking, weaving, and domestic service. In 2014, the Department's List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor reported bricks, carpets, embellished textiles and stones as goods produced in such labor conditions by both child laborers and forced workers.


According to Edmonds (2006)[8] the majority of children in the labour force work in the agricultural field. They also report that children aged 6-15 years old spend 9.2 hours a week working in the agriculture industry, with many more hours spent in other types of work.[8] The agricultural sector is very dangerous for children, due to their exposure to harmful chemicals and dangerous weather conditions. [13] Fafchamps (2006)[13] also reports that a child in Nepal is likely to be working in the agricultural sector if their parents are agricultural laborers and if they are located 3-7 hours away from an urban center. Even though these children spend a significant amount of time working in the fields they are often not counted in national statistics as being economically active. [14] With all of this said, Abdulai (1999)[15] reports that children working in the agricultural field do not significantly impact the agricultural output of Nepal.


The Communist Party of Nepal [CPN(M)] was composed of the People's Liberation Army and the Royal Nepal Army.[16] They instigated the Nepalese Civil War in 1996 because the Nepali government refused to address social and economic injustices.[16] During the Nepalese Civil War the People's Liberation Army and the Royal Nepal Army conscripted child soldiers ranging from fourteen years old to eighteen years old.[16] Some children joined the army due to abduction and manipulation, others due to voluntary association. [17] During the Nepalese Civil War children worked as soldiers, sentries, spies, cooks, and porters.[16] Many Nepali child soldiers witnessed traumatic events such as bombings and violent deaths.[16] The war happened in 1996 and in a study by Kohrt et al. in 2010, 15.5% of the surveyed children were still part of an army at the time of the study.[16]

Carpet Industry[edit]

The carpet industry is one of the major sources of income in Nepal and children are seen as the inexpensive labour force behind it. [18] In Nepal, about 1,800 children under fourteen years old are employed by the carpet industry.[19] In a study by Baker(2001)[18] all of the 162 Nepali children in the study spent more than six hours a day working in the carpet industry. "Social Labelling" is the work of non-governmental organizations to inform consumers about the conditions that the rug was made in.[19] "Social Labeling" has been effective in reducing child labour in the carpet industry by informing consumers about the working conditions of the factory where the rug was produced, and whether they utilize child labour. [19]

Domestic Labour[edit]

Domestic labour for children in Nepal includes childcare, cooking, shopping, fetching water, and cleaning.[8] Some children, usually young girls, are forced into domestic labour due to human trafficking. [20] According to Edmonds(2006) in one week children ages 6-15 spend 4.3 hours doing domestic work.[8] Girls typically have to do significantly more domestic work than their male siblings, and the hours girls spend on domestic work increases when there are siblings added to the household while the hours boys spend on domestic work generally stays the same. [8]

Causes of child labour[edit]


Poverty is a major cause of child labour in Nepal and is often coupled with lack of education according to a study by Ersado(2005).[21] Poverty is a driver of child labour because the costs of schooling is very high and the immediate economic benefit of child labour is enticing according to Stash(2001). [22] Not having access to schooling often leads parents to find employment for their children.[21] Children who are enrolled in school often have to work in order to afford the costs of schooling.[21] Many parents do not want their children to be idle during the day but cannot enroll them in school due to the high cost.[23] According to Ranjan (2002) this leads many parents to involve their children in the labour force.[23] Entering the labour force has immediate economic benefits for the parents, while the economic benefits from educating their children would be long term.[24]

Gender Inequality[edit]

Many parents in Nepal believe that female children should be at home doing domestic work instead of going to school according to Jamison (1987). [25] Their reasoning is that there would not be enough people supporting the household and that girls will be given away in marriage anyway.[25] Girls who do go to school are still expected to do the same amount of labour because they typically do domestic work, while boys do less labour when they are enrolled in school because they typically do market work.[23] According to Edmonds (2003)[8], female children are more likely to be involved with child labour than male children. Girls also tend to work more hours than boys, especially the oldest girl. The more children a family has, the more hours the oldest female child works. When a male child is added to the family both the oldest female and male siblings have to work an extra 1.5 hours a week, and when a female child is added to the family only the oldest female child has to work extra hours. [8] This inequality persists to adulthood, as seen by Nepal's low score on the Gender-related Development Index (GDI)[16]. Nepal has a score of 0.545, as compared to Canada's score of 0.959.[16]



Even though schooling increases a child's future income, there is a low enrollment rate by poor families.[26] Parents may feel that by enrolling their children in school they are missing out on the income that they could bring in immediately.[26] This effect is seen in a study by Ray(2002)[23] found that increasing the labour market activity of a child negatively affects their schooling experience. When a child is involved with the labour force they are less likely to be enrolled in school. [23] This effect is seen much more strongly in girls than in boys. [23]

Mental Health[edit]

There is a higher proportion of mental illnessnes such as anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for Nepali child soldiers than for Nepali children who were never conscripted.[17] This is especially true for female child soldiers as found in a study about the mental health of conscripted child soldiers by Kohrt (2008). [17] Female child soldiers also experienced gender-based stigma from their community after their work in the military.[16] One year after the war 55% of the child soldiers participating in the study were found to have PTSD. [17]

Economic Development[edit]

According to Galli (2001),[27] in the long run, child labour impedes long run economic growth through slower rate of human capital accumulation. One way in which human capital is accumulated is through education. As working takes up time for children to go to school, rate of human capital accumulation is negatively affected. Also, child labour is expanding as the economy is growing, which some see as an indication of a flawed economy. [26] Nonetheless, a study by Ersado(2005) found that children in Nepal contribute about 7% of the household income, which is quite high compared to other developing countries.[21]



Given the seriousness of the issue of child labour in Nepal, there are thousands of Governmental Organizations and numerous international non-governmental organizations that work in Nepal to tackle the problem of child labour through improving educational standards.

International Labour Organization[edit]

One of the goals of this organization is to eliminate the worst forms of child labour in Nepal.[28] They would like to strengthen the monitoring systems for child labour in order to prevent and identify the emerging sectors of child labour.[28] They also plan to assist the Government of Nepal to endorse a hazardous child labour list. [28]

Children and Women in Social Service and Human Rights (CWISH)[edit]

The goal of CWISH is to create a respectful environment towards human rights, with a focus on child rights.[29] They work to protect children from violence, sexual abuse, harassment, physical and humiliating punishment, bullying, neglect, trafficking, child labour and child marriage.[29] They advocate for better policies, better implementation, and child education along with assisting vulnerable children and their families.[29] Some of their accomplishments include helping 157495 Nepali children and has completed 83 projects.[29] One of these projects included establishing 11 municipalities that monitor child labour.[29]

Educate the Children[edit]

Educate the Children began by matching sponsors with disadvantaged children in Nepal in order to provide education.[30] They have since expanded their program to improving women's literacy and community development.[30] The three programs they currently run involve children’s education, women’s empowerment, and sustainable agricultural development.[30] Regarding children's education ETC has started an early education program that was lacking in Nepal.[30] They have also provided scholarships to help keep children in schools, and have focused their efforts on girls.[30] In addition to this ETC has improved the quality of education and schooling conditions.[30]

Proposed Solutions[edit]

Increasing access to banks could decrease the amount of child labour in Nepal.[21] Ersado (2005) found that in rural Nepal, access to a commercial bank positively affects child schooling and negatively affects child labor because access to credit allows a family to have a more stable income and have enough money to send their child to school.[21]

Another proposed solution is to provide incentives for parents to send their kids to school.[26] This could include providing enrollment subsidies and cash transfers with the condition that they enroll their children in school. [26]

Banning child labour may seem like a simple solution but its implications are that it would be very difficult to enforce the ban and it would come at a huge, immediate cost to the poor. [26] Also, banning child labour in one sector could lead children to enter other, more dangerous sectors such as prostitution.[31]

See also[edit]


Young Nepali girl working in the fields of Nepal
Young girl working in the fields of Tansen, Nepal
Young girls working in the brick kilns of Nepal
  1. ^United Nations Children's Fund, Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  2. ^ abcdefNEPAL LABOUR FORCE SURVEY 2008 STATISTICAL REPORT. Central Bureau of Statistics Thapathali, Kathmandu Nepal
  3. ^Central Department of Population Studies, Tribhuvan University. (1997). Child Labour Situation In Nepal p.34.Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  4. ^Government of Nepal, Central Bureau of Statistics, National Planning Commission Secretariat. (2004). Nepal Living Standard Survey 2003/04 Statistical Report Volume II p.53.Archived 2010-05-24 at the Wayback Machine., Retrieved 18 January 2012.
  5. ^"Government of Nepal, Central Bureau of Statistics, National Planning Commission Secretariat. (2009). Nepal Labour Force Survey 2008 Statistical Report p. 135.Archived February 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  6. ^Government of Nepal, Central Bureau of Statistics/The United Nations Children's Fund. (2011). Findings from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2010 in the Mid-and Far-Western Regions, Nepal p.14., Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  7. ^NEPAL LIVING STANDARDS SURVEY 2003/04 STATISTICAL REPORT VOLUME TWO. CENTRAL BUREAU OF STATISTICS National Planning Commission Secretariat His Majesty’s Government of Nepal December 2004.
  8. ^ abcdefghiEdmonds, Eric V. (2006). "Understanding sibling differences in child labor"(PDF). Journal of Population Economics. 19: 795–821. doi:10.1007/s00148-005-0013-3 – via JSTOR. 
  9. ^Ray, R. (2004). Child Labour and Child Schooling in South Asia: A Cross Country Study of their Determinants., Retrieved 18 January 2012.
  10. ^ abcd"What is child labour". International Labour Organization. Retrieved November 7, 2017. 
  11. ^"UNICEF - Definitions". Retrieved 2017-11-08. 
  12. ^Nepal, 2013 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor
  13. ^ abFafchamps, Marcel (2006). "Child labor, urban proximity and household composition"(PDF). Institute of Labor Economics: 1–37 – via Econstor. 
  14. ^Dixon, Ruth B. (1982). "Women in Agriculture: Counting the Labor Force in Developing Countries"(PDF). Population and Development Review. 8: 539–566. doi:10.2307/1972379 – via Population Council. 
  15. ^Abdulai, Awudu (1999). "Estimating labor supply of farm households under nonseparability: empirical evidence from Nepal"(PDF). Agricultural Economics. 22: 309–320. doi:10.1111/j.1574-0862.2000.tb00077.x – via Elsevier. 
  16. ^ abcdefghiKohrt, Brandon A. (2010). "Social Ecology of Child Soldiers: Child, Family, and Community Determinants of Mental Health, Psychosocial Wellbeing, and Reintegration in Nepal"(PDF). Transcult Psychiatry. 5: 1–23 – via ncbi. 
  17. ^ abcdKohrt, Brandon A. (2008). "Comparison of Mental Health Between Former Child Soldiers and Children Never Conscripted by Armed Groups in Nepal". JAMA. 6: 691–702 – via American Medical Association. 
  18. ^ abBaker, Rachel (2001). "Approaches to Children's Work and Rights in Nepal". The Annals of the American Academy. 575: 176–193. doi:10.1177/000271620157500111. 
  19. ^ abcChakrabarty, Sayan (2009). "Child Labor in Carpet Weaving: Impact of Social Labeling in India and Nepal"(PDF). World Development. 37: 1683–1693. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2009.03.013 – via Elsevier. 
  20. ^Tsutsumi, Atsuro; Izutsu, Takashi; Poudyal, Amod K.; Kato, Seika; Marui, Eiji. "Mental health of female survivors of human trafficking in Nepal". Social Science & Medicine. 66 (8): 1841–1847. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.12.025. 
  21. ^ abcdefErsado, Lire (2005). "Child Labor and Schooling Decisions in Urban and Rural Areas: Comparative Evidence from Nepal, Peru, and Zimbabwe"(PDF). World Development. 33: 455–480. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2004.09.009 – via Elsevier Science Direct. 
  22. ^"Who Goes to School? Educational Stratification by Gender, Caste, and Ethnicity in Nepal on JSTOR"(PDF). doi:10.1086/447676.pdf. 
  23. ^ abcdefRay, Ranjan (2002). "Simultaneous Analysis of Child Labour and Child Schooling: Comparative Evidence from Nepal and Pakistan". Economic and Political Weekly. 37 (52): 5215–5224. doi:10.2307/4413018. 
  24. ^Thapa, Shyam (1996). "Poverty, Literacy and Child Labour in Nepal: A District-level Analysis"(PDF). Asia-Pacific Population Journal. 11: 3–14. 
  25. ^ abJamison, T.; Lockheed, Marlaine E. (1987). "Participation in Schooling: Determinants and Learning Outcomes in Nepal". Economic Development and Cultural Change. 35 (2): 279–306. doi:10.1086/451586. 
  26. ^ abcdefRavallion, Martin; Wodon, Quentin (2000). "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy". The Economic Journal. 110 (462): C158–C175. doi:10.2307/2565729. 
  27. ^Galli, R. (2001) . The Economic Impact of Child Labour., Retrieved 18 February 2012 (archived from the originalArchived March 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. on 2012-03-01).
  28. ^ abc"DECENT WORK COUNTRY PROGRAMME"(PDF). International Labour Organization. 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2017. 
  29. ^ abcde"CWISH Nepal". Retrieved 2017-11-13. 
  30. ^ abcdef"Educate the Children Nepal – Working with women and children in Nepal to improve health, welfare, and self-sufficiency by building skills that families can pass down to later generations". Retrieved 2017-11-16. 
  31. ^Basu, Kaushik (2003). "The Global Child Labor Problem: What do we Know and what can we do?"(PDF). The World Bank Economic Review. 17: 147–173. doi:10.1093/wber/lhg021. 

Children of Nepal

Realizing Children’s Rights in Nepal

Nepal is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. Despite the international aid which keeps the country afloat, Nepalese children do not have access to all their rights. They must live their lives mired in poverty, malnutrition, violence, and other harmful circumstances.

Main problems faced by children in Nepal :


Almost half the population of Nepal lives below the poverty line and cannot fulfill their families’ needs. Life for these people deteriorates daily in the face of unrest in the streets, inflation, etc.

As victims of poverty, the children are in their hour of greatest need. They fight a battle for their lives every day, as their fundamental rights are not fulfilled.


The Nepalese health care system has a serious lack of appropriate materials and competent workers. Health indicators reflect this: more than 45% of children perish before the age of 5, and 21% of young Nepalese are underweight.

Children’s health is particularly vulnerable, and they tend to suffer from malnutrition and diabetes. The Ministry of Health, supported by many other organizations, has set up awareness programs, principally directed at mothers, to teach them to recognize the symptoms of childhood illnesses.


Education in Nepal is free and mandatory between the ages of 6 and 11. This is not enforced, however, and many children leave school before their 11th birthday. Because of this, only 84% of Nepalese children attend school.

Large gaps exist between the attendance of girls and boys, due to traditions which dictate the early marriage of young girls and the favoring of boys’ education.

The educational system is also in a poor state. Factors such as mediocre teachers and a lack of buildings, materials, and personnel, all hinder the chances of attending school.

Child labour

Child labour is a large black mark upon Nepalese society.  Over 25% of girls work every day, as opposed to 17% of boys, since the latter represent a family’s future and are thus usually enrolled in school. Those who work do so to support their families’ needs, and they work in very dangerous conditions.

Their duties vary by the job: they could be junk dealers, sweatshop workers, housekeepers, or weavers. They become vulnerable to many illnesses through their jobs.

Child trafficking

Child trafficking is altogether too present in Nepal, mostly because there is not yet a law against pedophilia. Many girls are torn from their families by traffickers because of this. Some will even decide to seek out traffickers themselves, looking for a better life.

Once they arrive in cities, the girls are sent to brothels. Some may be as young as seven.

This sexual treatment of young girls has hugely negative consequences on their future. Trauma, illness, and psychological disorders become their fate, due to the abuse they have suffered.

Child marriage

The legal age for marriage is 18 for girls and 21 for boys. However, this law is not always respected: 51% of girls are married before that age.

In many communities, such as the Newar community in Kathmandu, it is common for children to be promised to one another without any say in their own union. There are also some rites of marriage that can traumatize young girls, which many communities still perform.


The country of Nepal is composed of many communities and over 90 Sino-Tibetan languages. The official language is Nepali, though, usually followed by English.  Because of this, many communities cannot make themselves publicly understood, or send their children to school.

In distant rural regions, primary schooling is usually given in Nepali, which many children cannot understand. This prevents them from attending school at either the primary or the secondary level.

Right to identity

Nepal, whether a country or a conglomeration of multiple communities, does not yet have an effective government or judicial system. More than 30% of children, for example, are not officially registered with Nepalese authorities. This loophole causes serious problems for their lives.

These children are invisible to society’s eyes, and they cannot take advantage of their rights, including education and health care.

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