BANGLADESH: Chidren's rights in International Labour Organisation reports

Summary: This report summarises individual observations and direct requests issued by the ILO Committee of Experts related to child labour conventions. To view the full reports, go to the ILOLEX database ( and click on ‘display all documents related to a specific country’.


CEACR: Individual Observation concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Bangladesh (ratification: 2001) Published: 2011

Article 3 of the Convention. Clause (a). Sale and trafficking of children.

Under the terms of Article 1 of the Convention, immediate and effective measures must be taken to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour as a matter of urgency. Yet as the ILO Committee notes, several areas of concern arise in regards to sections 5(1) and 6(1) of the Suppression of Violence against Women and Children Act (SVWCA), which aim to prohibit the traffic and sale of women and children for purposes of prostitution or immoral acts. However, as the ILO Committee notes, by virtue of section 2(k) of the SVWCA, as amended in 2003, a "child" means a person under 16 years of age; consequently, it had observed that the SVWCA does not prohibit the sale and trafficking of boys between 16 and 18 years of age. In response, the Government has indicated to the Committee that it would take the necessary steps to amend the SVWCA in order to ensure that the sale and trafficking of all children under 18 years of age is prohibited.

However, as the Committee states in its report, no developments have been made so far with regard to the amendments to the SVWCA. It once again notes the Government's indication that it will gradually take the necessary measures to amend the SVWCA in order to ensure that the sale and trafficking of all children under 18 years of age is prohibited. Another area of concern for the Committee is that the provisions under the SVWCA cover only trafficking for sexual exploitation, and do not prohibit the sale and trafficking of children, both boys and girls, for labour exploitation. Under Article 3(a) of the Convention, the sale and trafficking of children under 18 years of age for labour or sexual exploitation is considered to be one of the worst forms of child labour and must be stopped.

Clause (d). Hazardous work. Child domestic workers

According to a recent survey by the ILO entitled, "Baseline Survey on Child Domestic Labour in Bangladesh, 2006", the number of child domestic workers in Bangladesh was estimated at 421,426, mostly girls, of which 147,943 were in Dhaka city alone, and the rest in other urban and rural households. About six per cent of the child domestic workers were below the age of 8 years, 21 per cent below the age of 11 years and 74 per cent below the age of 17 years. The report further indicates that more than 99 per cent of the children in domestic service worked seven days a week for exceedingly long hours, and more than 52 per cent of them did not receive any wages. Consequently, the Committee has reminded the Government that, pursuant to Article 3(d) of the Convention, work or employment in conditions that are hazardous are among the worst forms of child labour and are therefore to be eliminated as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Article 1.

Articles 5 and 7(1). Monitoring mechanisms and penalties. Law enforcement agencies

The Government has initiated two projects, namely, the Community Based Working Child Protection Project (CBWCP), enacted by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Actions for Combating Trafficking-in-Persons (ACT), executed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). These government programmes aim to combat human trafficking, enhance preventive and protective measures, improve victim care and strengthen the Government's capacity to prosecute trafficking and trafficking-related crimes.

However, data from a recent report further states that the Ministry of Home Affairs' Anti-trafficking Monitoring Cell has found that from 2008-2009 there was evidence of official complicity in human trafficking said of. The report further indicates that politicians and regional gangs were also involved in human trafficking.

Part V of the report form. Application of the Convention in practice

The Committee had previously noted that the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), in its Concluding Observations, expressed concern that data on the extent of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and on the number of children involved in these activities was severely limited - mainly due to the absence of a comprehensive data collection system (CRC/C/OPSC/BGD/CO/1, paragraph 6). In response, the Government has stated that the child safe labour surveys conducted in 1995-97 and 2001-03 indicated a reduction in child labour (of the age group of 5-14 years) from 18.3 per cent to 14.2 per cent, respectively. The former has noted, however, that the CRC, in its Concluding Observations of 26 June 2009 (CRC/C/BGD/CO/4, paragraph 82), expressed concern at the continuing high presence of child workers in five selected worst forms of child labour: welding, auto workshops, road transport, battery recharging and recycling, and work in tobacco factories. The CRC also expressed concern at the lack of enforcement mechanisms of specific laws to protect child workers, the absence of mechanisms to monitor the working conditions of child workers, insufficient awareness among the public of the negative effects of child labour and its worst forms, and the restricted data on the number of children affected.


CEACR: Individual Observation concerning the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, 1973 (No. 138) Bangladesh (ratification: NA)

According to the ILO's, "2012 Annual Review under the Follow-up to the ILO 1998 Declaration Compilation of Baseline Tables", although the Government of Bangladesh ratified C182 concerning the Worst Forms of Child Labour in 2001, it has yet to ratify C138.

As the review points out, the Government contends that given the level of socio-economic development of Bangladesh, and particularly the limitations in terms of manpower and resource constraints of the implementation authorities to address the large informal sector where child labour is engaged, it would take more time to ratify C138, and effectively monitor proper implementation . However, under The National Child Labour Policy, the Government intends to abolish hazardous child labour from Bangladesh by 2015 as prescribed in the Millennium Development Goals.



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