mining children peru

Completed Research


Street Children Peru

June 2009 – November 2010
Researchers: Talinay Strehl & Anna Ensing
Project Director: Kristoffel Lieten
This project is funded by Cordaid, Plan Netherlands and ASN Bank

IREWOC recently completed its research project on street children in Peru. Local organizations expressed the need to update the information about this specific group of children. A qualitative comparative research between Lima and Cusco was conducted by IREWOC researcher Talinay Strehl. She spent two months in each city communicating with the children, their families, NGO workers etc., looking for answers to important questions concerning the situation of the children, especially regarding their experiences with interventions implemented in their name.

The research project also included a quantitative component. Eighteen local researchers carried out a survey among 1200 street children in Lima and Cusco by means of questionnaires. Anna Ensing and Talinay Strehl trained the researchers during a one-week workshop in November 2009. The quantitative data provides a strong base on which to analyse the anthropological material.

This research was funded by Cordaid and Plan. Depending on future funding, research on street children will take place in other cities across the world as well. Applications for funds with some organisations have reached an advanced stage. Any parties interested in becoming involved should contact us through

The quantitative study produced two reports, which can be downloaded here>>>

Street-Working and Street-Living Children in Peru: Quantitative Report Cusco
- by Anna Ensing and Talinay Strehl

Street-Working and Street-Living Children in Peru: Quantitative Report Lima
- by Anna Ensing and Talinay Strehl

The main report for this project is qualitative in nature, but calls on the data collected and presented in the two quantitative reports mentioned above. You may cite from all reports as long as IREWOC and all authors are menitioned clearly.

Street-Working and Street-Living Children in Peru: Conditions and Current Interventions (Web)
- by Talinay Strehl

Summary Report: Street-working and street-living children in Peru (the summary report will soon be made available in Spanish as well)


The Worst Forms of Child Labour in Asia

January 2008 - March 2010

In spite of the breakthrough of Convention 182, the focus on the worst forms of child labour has been waning. Research indicates that the majority of NGOs work with children who perform light activities for only a few hours a day, which are actually tolerated under the ILO convention 182 norms. At the same time this relative absence of action is paralleled by a lack of information. Vast sectors are structurally overlooked and understudied. Additionally the qualitative material is very poor, excluding the perspectives of the child labourers and their parents.

IREWOC previously conducted this project in Latin America (see below). It was then expanded into Asia. Afke de Groot studied children in brick kilns, restaurants, and those working as porters in Nepal. Anna Ensing studied children working in the leather sector and the conditions of working girls in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Nanna Baum studied domestic workersin Bangladesh - both in the city and at home in the villages. Additional data is presented by Mariette de Graaf, who studied the working conditions of children involved in Dhaka's leather sector from an occupational hygiene point of view.

The research reports will be added here as they become available.

The Worst Forms of Child Labour in Asia. Main findings from Bangladesh and Nepal
- contributors: G.C.M. Lieten, Afke de Groot, Anna Ensing, Nanna Baum, Mariette de Graaf

Hazardous Child Labour in the Leather Sector of Dhaka, Bangladesh
- by Anna Ensing

A Triple Burden: Young, Poor and Female. Working Girls in the Homes and Streets of Dhaka
- by Anna Ensing

Child Labour in Kathmandu, Nepal
- by Afke de Groot



Rural Child Labour in Andean Countries

According to its global report The End of Child Labour: Within Reach, the ILO estimates that 218 million children in the world work, of which 126 million in hazardous working conditions. SIMPOC/ILO estimates that 69% percent of all working children work in agriculture. In Latin-America 5.7 million children are involved in child labour, and again, the majority work in rural areas (70%). Although rural child labour in many Latin-American countries has been the subject of research and policy measures, the Andean region, which is one of the poorest regions of Latin-America, has been mostly overlooked.

IREWOC therefore conducted a research project in two Andean counties, Bolivia and Peru, in 2008. In each country, child labour on small family farms was compared with child labour on commercial plantations. The main research population included the children engaged in rural forms of child labour, their parents and (N)GO staff working with this target group. The research has produced knowledge on rural child labour informed by ground reality that looks beyond quantitative numbers, and which identifies the (context) specific needs of the children and their caretakers. The research explored the different forms of rural child labour and documented the opinions of the children, caretakers and development workers on the possible solutions to the problems.

This project was financed by the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment and PLAN Netherlands.

The summary report is now available for download here>>>. The report may be printed and distributed freely, as long as all authors and IREWOC are mentioned clearly. 

Child Labour in Guaraní Communities in Bolivia - by Laura Baas

Child Labour on Sugar Cane Plantations in Bolivia - by Laura Baas

Rural Child Labour in Peru. A comparison of child labour in traditional and commercial agriculture - by Marten van den Berge

Trabajo Infantil Rural en el Perú. Comparación del trabajo infantil en la agricultura tradicional y moderna, desde los testimonios de niñas, niños, adolescentes y padres de familia. - by Marten van den Berge


Research on the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Latin-America 
September 2006 - May 2008. Marten van den Berge, Laura Baas, Anna Ensing, Luisa Quiroz

In the discussion on child labour as well as in designing child labour policy, the “Worst Forms Convention”, or Convention 182, of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has been of utmost importance. The Convention explicitly calls for immediate and effective measures to secure the prohibition and elimination of those forms of child labour that pose a direct threat to the physical and moral health of children.

In spite of the breakthrough of Convention 182, the focus on the worst forms of child labour has been waning. Research indicates that the majority of NGOs work with children who perform light activities for only a few hours a day, which are actually tolerated under the ILO convention 182 norms. At the same time this relative absence of action is paralleled by a lack of information. Vast sectors are structurally overlooked and understudied. Additionally the qualitative material is very poor, excluding the perspectives of the child labourers and their parents.

To tackle this lack of information and contribute to policy making in the field of child protection, the IREWOC Foundation started an action-based research in September 2006 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. Research questions were designed to accommodate policy making by first mapping the ground reality of child labourers and their families and to subsequently identify best practices of governmental and nongovernmental organisations in this field. A special focus within the research is on the relation between the worst forms of child labour and education.

Based on partnerships and former research experience, IREWOC chose to conduct this research on the Latin American continent. Presently research is being carried out in Bolivia, Peru and Guatemala. The selected sectors are mining and commercial agriculture. Within these sectors NGOs working on the worst forms of child labour will be evaluated as to make an inventory of best practices. The presentation of results will be held at the end of May 2008. This will be accompanied by a publication of all findings.

This research was supported by Kerk in Actie, ICCO, Terre des Hommes Netherlands, Plan Netherlands, Netherlands Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, Stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland, and Edukans.


The Summary Report has been published
and can be downloaded here>>>

Read the Spanish Summary Report here>>>


Guatemala Coffee
Guatemala Quarries
Peru Urban Sectors
Peru Mining
Cajamarca, Peru Quarries
Bolivia Sugarcane
Bolivia Mining

After the initial research had been completed in each country and after the data had been processed and analysed, the researchers returned to their research locales to present their findings to those most directly involved.

In Peru, the local workshop partner GIN documented the proceedings, which can be read here in their Spanish report >>>


Deprived Children and Education
January 2006 - November 2007. Afke de Groot, Albertine de Lange, Heike Roschanski,  Ruth van Wieren

Read the proposal for the Deprived Children and Education Project >>

Significant progress has been made in achieving universal primary education (UPE), one of the UN millennium development goals set for 2015. Even though education is currently at the centre of international aid policy, the focus tends to be on providing quality education rather than UPE. However, before addressing the question of quality, it is more important to know more about why children are not attending school in the first place.

In January 2006 Irewoc started a child-based research project on deprived children and education in which the focus is on the realities of the children and their parents. This study aims to deepen the understanding as to why many children do not go to school by collecting insights from the source. Are the reasons economic, cultural or are they related to the relevance and quality of education? Detailed anthropological fieldwork was carried out in areas with alarming figures regarding non-schooling and illiteracy in Africa (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya), South Asia (Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh).

On Thursday November 29 2007 the researchers presented their findings to concerned NGO and governmental parties at a workshop in The Hague. The report of these proceedings can be read here>>>(in Dutch)


The Summary Report has been published and can be downloaded here>>>

Hard copies of the Summary Report can be ordered from


Burkina Faso


Working Children: Unionisation and Participation
February 2004 - August 2005. Marten van den Berge, Godefroid Nimbona, Heike Roschanski

Read the proposal for the Working Children: Unionisation and Participation project>>

This study was conducted in Peru, Bolivia, Senegal, India, Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda.  The principal objective was to analyse how working children in selected developing countries are organised, and how, by their participation/non-participation in organised movements, they have effected changes in their working circumstances, in their self-esteem and in their prospects. Positive outcomes have been claimed by the child labour unions and by their protagonists. This research aimed to establish whether the lofty ideals are realised, and whether or not such unions contribute to condoning and legitimizing child labour. 


West Africa
East Africa


Child Labour Migration and Trafficking in Burkina Faso
April 2004 - October 2005, Albertine de Lange

This study aimed to contribute to the understanding of African child labour migration, including child trafficking, a type of child labour migration whereby children are actively recruited and transported by adults. Both practices often lead to exploitation of children and especially child trafficking is currently receiving growing attention as a serious violation of children’s rights.

In this study, explanations for the occurrence and persistence of child labour migration were investigated by looking both at the child catchment area, i.e. communities and families that are affected by the phenomenon, and on the farms where the children are being employed.

The focus of this study was on rural-rural child labour migration, which generally involves the migration (including trafficking) of rural children to commercial cotton plantations elsewhere.

Read the report on Child Labour Migration and Trafficking in Burkina Faso>>


Children as Agents in Development

The fieldwork for Children as Agents in Development was completed in April 2003. The winding up was marked by a two-day workshop and a public meeting.

The various country reports have been finalised; a number of them have already been published (see under Publications or Documents).

The final report Children as Agents in Development was submitted to Plan Nederland in late November 2003. The country reports and the synopsis of the final report can be downloaded here.

Read the synopsis here>>>


Honduras/El Salvador
Central America


The Nowhere Children: A Study of Daily Practice and Hidden Concerns

This project, funded by IDPAD, involved fieldwork in four Indian states. It began with a pilot study in Bihar in November 2003. Deprived children, whether employed as child labourers or the uncounted ‘no-where children’ (children who neither work nor go to school) have become a major focus of attention in policy-oriented social science research in India. This research has provided some answers, but has raised even more questions. Not only is there no consensus on the definitions or actual numbers involved, but also other, even more basic issues remain unclear, e.g. How much and what kind of work is detrimental to children? Does work prevent children from attending school? Does the lack of quality education lead to ‘push-outs'?
Read the abstract>>


Estimating Child Labour: Methodological Issues
A pilot study

In the study, which was conducted in Kolkatta by the Centre for Studies in Economic Appraisal (CSEA), a distinction was maintained between ‘child work’ and ‘child labour’, following the distinction made by Alec Fyfe (Child Labour; Cambridge Polity Press, 1989), and others: ‘Light work, properly structured and phased, is not child labour. Work, which does not detract from other essential activities of children, namely, leisure, play and education, is not child labour. Child labour is work which impairs the health and development of the children.’ (A. Fyfe, ibid., p. 3-4, emphasis added )

In the West, work in productive activity (outside the family, against a monetary compensation) not exceeding two hours a day is not considered to be detrimental to the development of a child, after (s)he attains a certain age. For the children in the threshold of adulthood, work for even higher hours is not considered to be detrimental. On the other hand, work inside the family or any unproductive work done by the child can also be viewed in this way and be considered as child labour. Not all the children who are economically active are child labourers, but then some of the children who are not economically active, may indeed belong to the category of child labourers.

We have taken these two points in consideration and tried to operationalise the concept of child labour, first in the context of productive labour and then in the context of unproductive (family or social) labour.

CSEA, Calcutta, was entrusted by CINI-Asha, Calcutta, to analyse the field data pertaining to about 9500 school going children from slums in East Calcutta. The purpose has been to trace the children over a time period so as to get the information related to school dropouts among these children. A sample from this CINI-Asha group of children was run. A matching sample was then taken from the same field area to check the profile of non CINI-Asha children.

The technical issues related to statistical estimation of child labour were considered after the assessment of the results of the field survey. A summary of the final report of this research can be viewed here.

The research was directed by professor Dr. Ratan Khasnabis, Department of Business Management of the Calcutta University, and by professor Dr. G.K. Lieten of IREWOC.


Current research | Proposed research