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Binding social standards to protect against child labour


Children of farming families are usually involved in the work routines of the farm or forestry business virtually from the moment they are born. However, they should not be overtaxed by being made to work too much, even in situations in which their assistance is needed on the family farm from time to time. Introducing binding social standards to protect against child labour can counteract this. According to the International Labour Organisation, the term “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 refers to work that:

  • is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and/or
  • interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.

Children of farming families should be able to follow the work processes on the farm through play. Initial education should take priority, thereafter, children can be given vocational training in parallel to their first regular work (dual system). Family members should only be accompanied to their work, when they do not face threatening, harmful or insecure situations (for more information, see the ILO conventions on child labour: convention No. 29 on forced labour, convention No. 138 on the minimum age for admission to employment and work, and convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labour).


  • A properly functioning country-wide administration and monitoring system with access to the relevant information and sufficient technical and human capacities for its design, implementation and monitoring
  • Acceptance / Recognition of the local population
  • Clear responsibilities in public authorities
  • Close cooperation and knowledge sharing with farmers' organisations
  • Close collaboration and knowledge sharing with schools
  • Jurisdiction or arbitration body with locally recognised authorities
  • Local educational opportunities (primary and secondary schools)
  • Participation of all stakeholders involved, e. g. science / research, agricultural advisory services, civil society, public and private sector (incl. farmers and their interest groups)
  • Private sector initiative
  • Regular neutral inspections on farms and in agri-food enterprises
  • Sanction mechanisms

Possible Negative Effects

  • Can temporarily increase rural exodus
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This page was last edited on 7 May 2023 | 7:22 (CEST)
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