Children are pictured in a classroom in Sa Pa Town, Lao Cai Province, northern Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Dmytro Gilitukha.
Vietnam’s rate of child labor, 5.3 percent, is around 2 percentage points lower than the average in Asia and the Pacific, a study has found.
This equates to more than one million children in the ages of 5-17 engaged in labor, the survey done in 2018 by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, the General Statistics Office and the International Labour Organization and released recently, said.
They undertake work that is prohibited because of their age, the number of working hours or the nature of the tasks involved.
In line with global trends, 84 percent of child laborers in Vietnam are in rural areas, over half working in agriculture, forestry or fisheries.
Other sectors where child labor is prevalent include services, industry and construction. More than 40 per cent are unpaid.
“Child labor tends to take place in informal household enterprises down the manufacturing and production supply chains, which makes it difficult to detect,” ILO Vietnam director Chang Hee Lee said.
The survey estimates that nearly 520,000 children in Vietnam are engaged in hazardous work or work which poses significant risks to a child’s health, safety or morals. Many of them work in industry and construction.
The number of hours children in hazardous jobs work tends to be high, with 40.6 per cent working over 40 hours a week.
Only half of child laborers attend school, compared to the national average of 94.4 percent.
Efforts must be speeded up immediately to end child labor in all its forms, the ILO said.