Author: Rangita de Silva-de Alwis

Year Published: 2007


The Convention on the Rights of the Child recognises in Article 32 the right of the child “to be protected from economic exploitation; and from any work that is likely to … interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.”1 In implementing this article, the CRC specifies that States should have “regard [for] the relevant provisions of other international instruments,” which refers particularly to the International Labour Office Conventions and Recommendations on the subject. In doing so, the CRC has stimulated many State parties to also ratify the ILO Conventions on child labour2 and take legislative actions in order to prevent children from economic exploitation. However, while laws regulating the employment of children have changed, reform of labour provisions has only addressed the situation of children working in the formal sector. Reform of labour provisions has left behind the most invisible child workers: child domestic workers. Because child domestic workers are employed within an informal family environment they are not usually integrated as a professional group within conventional working systems since such integration would presuppose an acceptance of the idea of child domestic labour. At the same time, because they are left without legal protection, it is difficult to combat child domestic labour.

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