5 facts about child labour in Latin America and the Caribbean

Child labour exists on almost every continent. In the Latin America and the Caribbean region, 10.5 million girls and boys are engaged in child labour.

Here are five fast facts on child labour in Latin America and the Caribbean:

1. 10.5 million children in Latin America and the Caribbean are involved in child labour

7.3% of children aged 5 to 17 are currently working. Children who work are more likely to fail at school because absenteeism and fatigue interfere with their performance.

2. 9 in 10 children involved in child labour are in the informal sector

Children are often found working in unpaid family work. Two-thirds of adolescents between 12 and 17 are involved in hazardous work.

3. Children from rural areas, girls especially, begin working between the ages of 5 and 7

Almost 52% of the child labour force is concentrated in the agricultural sector, one of the most dangerous and difficult environments to work in due to the exposure to outdoor elements and chemical substances. 

4. The decrease in child labour for girls was half that recorded for boys

67% of child domestic workers are girls, many of them in hazardous working conditions.

5. A fundamental decrease in hazardous child labour occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean

The ILO report on hazardous work indicates that the number of children engaged in hazardous work in the region declined by 35% between 2012 and 2016.

The reduction of child labour, especially its most hazardous forms, in the region is great news because it demonstrates progress in the elimination of child labour.

Let’s keep going. This year, the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, you can make a difference for children. Take action now to help end child labour.