Child labour in Myanmar’s jade mines is a deadly gamble

San Min Htet is a 13-year-old boy who scavenges for scraps of jade stone in Hpakantin Kachin State, known as Myanmar’s “land of jade”. 

Read his story on the ILO website

Fast facts

  • Jade picking is hazardous work. Nearly 200 people died in a mudslide at a jade mining site in Hpakant on 2 July 2020.  
  • 1.13 million 5- to 17-year olds are trapped in child labour in Myanmar. This means one in every 11 children is deprived of their childhood, health and education. 
  • As of 2020 both ILO core conventions on child labour, Conventions 182 and 138, have been ratified by Myanmar.
  • Child labour has declined by 55 per cent over the last three years in three target pilot communities with support from the ILO Liaison Office in Myanmar and its partners, including the United States Department of Labor (USDOL).
  • COVID-19 has exacerbated pressure on vulnerable families. The ILO in Myanmar is working closely with communities in targeted areas to help families deal with income loss due to the pandemic and ensure children are not sent to work.
  • In 2021, countries around the world will mark UN’s International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, and the Government of Myanmar will work closely with the ILO and employer and worker organizations to strengthen its National Action Plan to eliminate child labour.
  • There is a real opportunity to protect children like Min Min if everyone plays their part.
We risk our lives for those stones. A man died last night. I saw it with my own eyes
Min Min
Child labourer