Poverty and Child Labour: A Vicious Cycle


Poverty and Child Labour

Mechanism of Creating Poverty through Child Labour
Poverty is a cross-cutting issue. It is caused by many factors. Poverty does not exist alone. It happens because of something else. Thinking about child labour, it also plays a crucial role to generate poverty. See the figure below. This is just an example of poverty vicious cycle in relation to child labour.


The figure describe how a family fall into poverty in long term. Let us start from a box of child labour.

1. Child Labour

If young children work in hazardous sectors such as brick making, rubber plantations, rubbish picking and any other dangerous forms of work, they are likely exposed to physical or mental risks as well as risks of committing an illicit activity.

2. Education

Through such process, children would not be able to attend school education since they would be working.

3. Poverty

What would happen to those children when they become adult? With a lower level of education, they tend to have lower income, and that situation might force their children to work instead of schooling as well.

As arrows in the figure show, the links between 3 factors may affect each other. For example, child labourers might get serious injured and become disabled; they would have less income in the future because disability; but they still needs to feed the rest of their family as breadwinners. In such case, child labour may cause poverty of their entire family in long term.

One question always lies here. How can the vicious cycle be terminated?

Related Post
Poverty and Child Labour: Social Protection

ILO IPEC (2010) The Role of a National Social Protection Strategy in Augmenting Human Capital through Promoting Education, Reducing Child Labour and Eliminating its Worst Forms

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