World Facts

20 Countries Where Young Children Work The Longest Hours

In several of these countries, 7- to 14-year-old children often work more than 40 hours per week.

In some parts of the world, children begin to work as young as seven years old. For example, children in Senegal work an average of 44.2 hours a week. This time-frame is a full time eight hour work week for most North Americans. If children are spending this time at work, it is quite clear that they are not able to go to school and get an education. This tradition of sending children to work early has considerable social and economic consequences on these countries.

Consequences of Child Labor

Many countries in South America employ children in jobs like domestic labor or agriculture. These children are suffering from working conditions that the International Labor Union (ILO) is trying to abolish. Two of the organization's conventions that focus on changing the labor practices are C.138 and C.182. C.138 discusses the minimum age that children should be allowed to work in a given country, based on the country's specific economy and living standards. On the other hand, C.182 is aimed at ending dangerous child labor practices such as human trafficking.The United Nations set the minimum working age at fourteen, but some countries have chosen to disregard this regulation. Bolivia recently passed legislation to allow children as young as ten to work, as long as it doesn't interfere with their education. Children in Bolivia work an average of 40.5 hours per week, the third highest average in the world. When children spend about eight hours a day working, they have very little time left to learn. Without receiving a proper education, these people grow up and are left with very few opportunities in their adult life.

Working Towards a Better Future

Even though there is still a significant amount of corruption in many of these areas, many places are slowly working towards a better future. Hiring children under the table is a common practice. This fact makes it hard to elucidate the number of ILO rule violations in each country. Slowly, though, by implementing new regulations the amount of illegal child labor will decrease. For example, the Guatemalan government implemented new laws to protect children from the sex trade. Guatemala currently ranks number five on the list of countries with children working the longest hours. It is a slow process, but by working together, the world can become a better place for future generations.

20 Countries Where Young Children Work The Longest Hours

RankCountryWorking Hours per Week Among Employed 7- to 14-year-old Children
1Senegal44.2 hours per week
2Paraguay43.9 hours per week
3Bolivia40.5 hours per week
4Cambodia40.4 hours per week
5Guatemala38.8 hours per week
6Bangladesh36.1 hours per week
7Mexico35.9 hours per week
8El Salvador34.5 hours per week
9Venezuela34.4 hours per week
10Vietnam34.2 hours per week
11Honduras33.2 hours per week
12Uganda33.2 hours per week
13Pakistan31.8 hours per week
14Tanzania
31.6 hours per week
15Mongolia31.1 hours per week
16Brazil30.5 hours per week
17Rwanda30.2 hours per week
18Colombia29.2 hours per week
19Ethiopia29.1 hours per week
20Costa Rica
28.1 hours per week

More in World Facts