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Author Topic: Child Labor and Child School Dropping in Cambodia by ILO  (Read 13492 times)


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Child Labor and Child School Dropping in Cambodia by ILO
« on: November 28, 2013, 01:36:15 PM »
In Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom
Penh, one in every nine households
employs someone to do the
That someone is a child.

Why does child domestic labour exist in Cambodia?
n Cambodia, child domestic labour has been common for a
long time, but it has grown as a result of poverty, rapid
population growth, the movement of people from country
to city, and a weak education system. Today it is widely
accepted by people in all walks of life and often favourably
Many families, especially in rural areas, think their children will
find a better life if they go to live with another family (often in
the city) and, in exchange, work in their house. Some families
think their son or daughter will be sent to school and will just
help out at the same time. Some families hope the child will
have a better place to live, decent clothes and good food. In
some cases this may be true. But it is more likely that the child,
especially a girl, will have to sacrifice schooling to get the
housework done for other people. And even if the child goes to
school, it is likely she will be too tired to study, be regularly
absent or just drop out because it is too hard to work and study
at the same time. And some children found themselves in a
situation which was so different from what they thought it
would be, and considered themselves trafficked to work in
domestic labour.
Child domestic labour is high-risk, because it
happens behind the closed doors of a private home
and no-one can really know what is happening.
Cambodia is by no means the only country where children can
be found in domestic labour. Child domestic labour is
widespread across the globe. We do not know enough about
children who toil in their own homes as domestic helpers, often
for long hours and instead of going to school, but we are

beginning to build up a detailed picture of the lives of children
who work in other people’s homes.
We do not include in this children who just lend a helping hand
at home, maybe by washing the dishes after a meal or cleaning
their room from time to time. Taking some responsibility for
helping out at home is a good thing for children; it helps them
to see that they contribute to the family and it teaches them
skills and habits they will use as they get older.
Without us knowing, children in domestic labour are
in a very different situation.
They are often
• deprived of the chance to study,
• isolated from their family,
• forced to work long hours,
• with no contract,
• little or no pay and few or no rewards,
• no time off, and
• at risk of sexual harassment and abuse.
They cannot
• negotiate terms,
• insist on medical insurance or
• eat together with the house members, or
• set the conditions under which they toil.
They are frequently
• kept in the house and not allowed to go
• exposed to hazardous cleaning
substances or equipment that is too
difficult for them to use,
• shouted at,
• beaten, and
• humiliated.
And of course they miss out on the very thing that
will help them escape all this: school and the chance
to prepare a future that is safe, healthy and in which
they will be able to find a decent job, earn money
and choose the life they want.
For all these reasons, the International Labour Organization
(ILO) considers that child domestic labour can easily become
one of the worst forms of child labour. Each individual
Member State of the ILO nominates, on the basis of the
country’s realities, the worst forms of child labour it will move
to prohibit and eliminate as a matter of urgency.
The Government of Cambodia has included child
domestic labour in its National Plan of Action
against the worst forms of child labour.
In 2004, the National Institute of Statistics of Cambodia, as part
of a two-year programme of the ILO’s International Programme
on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), completed the first
detailed survey of child domestic labour in Cambodia’s capital,
Phnom Penh (Child Domestic Worker Survey, Phnom Penh
2003). This was an important step in Cambodia’s efforts to
understand more about the exploited children, their families, the
homes they work in and the conditions they face.