Child Domestic Work

19th April 2017
Author: Helen West, Pearl Boateng

The definition of Child Domestic Work (CDW) is contested. Whilst international law defines children as any person under the age of 18 years old, in some countries, the national minimum age to work can be as low as 14 years old. Furthermore, socio-cultural patterns and national level policies add an additional dimension to how CDW is viewed, measured and reported. Despite these variations, as an overview, child domestic work is a general reference to children’s work in the domestic work sector in the home of a third-party or employer. The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) and UNICEF conventions provide the main framework for definitions. This Helpdesk Report discusses the following questions: What different approaches exist to defining child labour in domestic work? What data is available regarding the numbers of children and households that are involved in domestic child labour? How does the prevalence of domestic child labour differ across countries? What approaches of data collection methods have been used and what are the data limitations?

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Suggested Citation

Boateng, P., and West, H., (2017). Child Domestic Work. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.


19th April 2017


Continent: Global