National child labour survey

Report on the National Child Labour Survey 2010 of Lao PDR

The Report on the National Child Labour Survey 2010 of Lao PDR provides many useful insights into the child labour situation of Lao PDR. It examines in detail various aspects of child labour, including its demographic and educational implications, the economic and non-economic activities children engage in, hazardous forms of child labour, children working in the informal sector and migrant child workers, by age groups, sex and locality.

The Child Labour Survey (CLS) and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) was conducted by the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 2010. The LFS and CLS of the Lao PDR 2010 was implemented jointly by the Lao Statistics Bureau (then, the Department of Statistics) of the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MoPI) and the Labour Management Department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW), with the financial and technical assistance of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) through its Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, and its International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).

Child labour and hazardous child labour: survey findings

Child labour is a subset of working children. As per the Lao PDR LFS and CLS 2010 survey estimate, out of a total number of 1,767,109 children (of which 857,962 are girls), about 15 per cent (265,509 total of 146,610 are girls) are currently employed in some economic activity. Among the children engaged in economic activity, 67.0 per cent (178,014 in number) can be considered as child labour and 49.0 per cent of the working children (130,137 in number) can be termed as hazardous child labour, as defined above. Thus, 2 out of every 3 child in child labour were found to be engaged in hazardous work.

According to the international statistical measurement standards, all working children below the minimum aged specified by law for entry into employment or work are considered as child labourers. For Lao PDR, where there is no provision for light work under the labour law and the minimum age for employment is 14 years, there are about 75,231 child labourers in the age group 5-13 years, while the rest (119,394) are aged 14-17 years. Most of the working children identified as child labourers, both in terms of number and percentage, are from rural areas with roads. Just over 136,000 children from the rural areas with roads are child labourers, constituting nearly three-fourth of the working children from these areas. About 17,900 urban child workers and about 23,800 child workers from rural areas without roads are child labourers.

The percentage of hazardous child labour among the working children is similar in urban (59.6 per cent) and rural areas with roads (59.7 per cent). This figure is lower, at 45.2 per cent in the rural areas without road.

From a gender perspective, the absolute number of female child labourers, at 96,368 is much higher than their male counterparts (81,646). Although in percentage terms, the proportion of female child labourers among female working children (65.7 per cent) is slightly lower than the corresponding proportion for males (68.7 per cent). The situation is similar with respect to hazardous child labour, where 47.8 per cent of female child workers and 50.5 per cent of the male child workers are engaged in hazardous child labour.