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Child Labour in the Philippines FACTSHEET

During COVID-19, existing vulnerabilities to trafficking have been exacerbated by rising poverty, school closures and the global "move" online. Watch this survivor story and get the facts on child labour in the Philippines:

Download the factsheet as a PDF and click on the underlined words to view their sources:

Child Labour Factsheet
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Learn about Online Child Sexual Exploitation (OSEC) in the Philippines here


Full text:


  • Child Labour is any work or economic activity performed by a child that subjects him/her to any form of exploitation, is harmful to his/her health and safety or physical, mental and psychosocial development.

  • There are 2.2 million child labourers in the Philippines aged 5 - 14. This is 11% of all children in this age group and 95% of them do dangerous work.

LAWS (ILO Conventions on Child Labour)

  • Minimum age for labour: 15 years old.

  • Minimum age for potentially hazardous work: 18 years old.


  • Sex: 64% are boys, 36% are girls

  • Poverty is a primary cause of child labour. 31.4% of children live in poverty in the Philippines.

  • 300,000 child labourers do not attend school.


  • The majority of child labourers do unpaid work for the family (70.9% of boys, 75.4% of girls).

  • 65.4% work in agriculture, 5.3% work in industry, 29.4% work in services.

  • Boys are more likely to be paid for their work than girls (29.1% vs. 24.5%)


Drug production, sale & trafficking:

  • 24,000 out of 80,000 drug users and dealers registered by authorities in 2017 were minors. Of these, 400 were found to be trafficking drugs.

  • Government has been attempting to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 9 years old.

Forced recruitment for use in armed conflict:

  • There are between 2,000 and 6,000 child soldiers in Maguindanao.

Sexual exploitation:

  • In 2007, it was estimated that there were 60,000 - 75,000 children in the Philippines who were victims of commercial sexual exploitation (CSEC).

  • There has been a 264% increase in the number of reports of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) in the Philippines since the start of the pandemic.

Forced labour:

  • In agriculture, children are forced to work for long hours, exposed to extreme weather conditions and harmful chemicals. In industry, children in mines work in dangerous conditions with dangerous tools.

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