Forms of child labour in Nepal

Forms of child labour in Nepal

Children are involved in almost all labour sectors in Nepal. Fifteen main areas of work have been identified, as follows (source; Ending Child Labour, A Briefing Kit on Child Labour in Nepal & CWIN-Nepal).


Carpet- mostly child migrants work in this area. The children work an average of 15 hours a day, with only one hours’ break, 7 days a weeks. The conditions in which the children work are usually poor. Damage to health and injuries are commonplace. Trafficking of children to work in carpet factories in India also occurs.

Other forms in this category include: garments/textiles, handicrafts, printing press, welding, confectionery, bread making, making matches, pottery. brick kilns and embroidery. Recently, children working in embroidery (zari) is increasing. CWIN has rescued 4 children from a zari factory last month (May 2009) in Kathmandu.

Mines and quarries

This includes children working in stone quarries and coal mines, as well as in the mining of magnecite.


Children are involved planting a variety of different substances, such as sugar cane, tea, tobacco, millet, maize and rice.

Domestic service

Children do various domestic tasks, including; fetching water, collecting fuels and fodder, caring for younger siblings, working in the kitchen and cleaning. Other tasks include washing the dishes and doing the laundry. Domestic service, being invisible compared to other works makes children more vulnerable to abuse.

Shop keeper/service

This includes children working in teashops and in restaurants and bars. This also includes children working as street vendors to sell newspapers, eateries, etc.


Work such as conductors, ticket collectors on buses/micro buses and tempos, as well as rickshaw drivers. Children from outskirts of urban areas are attracted to becoming conductors in tempos or micro buses.


This sector includes street porters, tourist or trekking porters, and domestic porters. There are generally 2 types of porters, as identified by IPEC; long-distance porters who carry loads rurally, and short-distance porters who work mainly in urban areas such as in bus parks.

Construction work

Children work to build roads, houses, bridges, and sewerage systems.

Street work

Street vendors of newspapers and other items, rag pickers, beggars, street singers, shoe shiners/makers. Street children are more prone to becoming drug addicts (glue, marijuana, IV-brown sugar, etc) to contracting HIV/AIDS, as well as being physically and sexually abused and exposed to a world of crime.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation

This includes girls and boys involved in prostitution by middlemen or contractors/pimps. Many underage children work in massage parlors, cabin restaurants and dance bars (entertainment sector). Many children are trafficked from Nepal to India, to work in the commercial sex industry.

Bonded labour/Kamlari/Haruwa/Charuwa

However the Kamaiya system, is abolished in July 2000, the bonded labour continues to influence many children’s lives. Kamlari system where girls are sent to work in the households of village masters still exist. There are many children working in agricultural sector as haruwa/charuwa.
There are also many debt-bonded labourers, who tend to work in places like carpet factories, households, restaurants, brick kilns, and so on.

Migrant child labour

Often, children migrate from rural to urban centres such as Kathmandu, Biratnagar or Narayanghat with the aim of finding employment. Many children in bordering districts of India are sent to neighboring Indian cities and villages (popularly known as Kalapar in the Mid and far-west) to work in different sectors like agriculture, domestic work, factories, mines, etc. According to a study of five borders of Nepal carried out by Save the Children, Norway,(during the conflict period) hundreds of children crossed these borders in three months.

Many Indian children also migrate to Nepal to work as domestic helps, rag-pickers, beggars, vendors, etc.

Refugee working children

Children of Tibetan refugees often work in carpet factories, frequently in Tibetan areas of the country or capital city, such as in Katmandu’s Bouddha and Lalitpur’s Ekantakuna. Many Bhutanese refugee children try to find work in Eastern Nepal.

Circus/entertainment industry

Many children work in circuses. A new phenomenon is the trafficking of children to work in circuses in India. Children also work in puppet or magic shows, or in commercial musical shows.

Publicity and advertising

Such as in TV advertisements, radio programs, newspapers, and magazines.

© 2010 CWIN Nepal