The term child labour reflects the engagement of children in prohibited work and, more generally, in types of work to be eliminated as socially and morally undesirable as guided by national legislation, the ILO Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138), and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182), as well as their respective supplementing Recommendations (Nos 146 and 190). Child labour may be measured in terms of the engagement of children in productive activities either on the basis of the general production boundary, or on the basis of the SNA production boundary.

For the purpose of statistical measurement, children engaged in child labour include all persons aged 5 to 17 years who, during a specified time period, were engaged in one or more of the following categories of activities: (a) worst forms of child labour; (b) employment below the minimum age; and (c) hazardous unpaid household services, applicable where the general production boundary is used as the measurement framework.

For more information, refer to the Resolution concerning statistics of child labour.

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