Assessment of child labour in the Yangon Region, Ayeyarwady Region and Kayin State
30 June 2023
According to 2020 ILO-UNICEF global estimates, the number of children engaged in child labour globally has increased from 152 million in 2016 to 160 million in 2020.1 This includes 63 million girls and 97 million boys. In Myanmar, the 2015 Labour Force Survey, conducted with ILO support, estimated that 1.12 million children between 5 and 17 years old were engaged in child labour, with over 600,000 involved in hazardous work. However, these figures do not capture the subsequent dual burden of the COVID-19 pandemic and the military takeover, which have caused tremendous socio-economic stress for many households.2 Job losses, reductions to household income and decreased access to education have impacted the children of the poorest families the most.
This assessment provides a picture of child labour in the Yangon Region, Ayeyarwady Region and Kayin State, all of which have high concentrations of working children. The purpose is to understand the effects of COVID-19 and recent political crisis on child labour. It also maps available child protection and vocational training opportunities in these three areas, in addition to identifying labour market and training opportunities for vulnerable youth. Finally, it provides recommendations for appropriate awareness raising, advocacy and overarching key policy interventions to be pursued, when the situation allows. This mixed methodology assessment had a modest number of participants across three categories of informants (i.e. children and their guardians; employers’ and workers’ organizations; and wider community members) with a purposive sampling design. Therefore, the findings reveal insights and themes related to working children in the three assessment areas, but are not representative of all working children in Myanmar.