At work in the West


Work can help develop a sense of independence and responsibility. However, overworking can affect education and create risks to health. It can also be exploited.

In the USA, as well as in other countries, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, there are laws to protect working children under 16. These state that no children should be employed:

  • under a certain age (usually 13 years of age);

  • during school hours;

  • outside certain hours (usually before 7.00 am or after 7.00 pm);

  • for more than so many hours on a school day or on a Sunday;

  • for lifting or carrying anything heavy enough to cause injury;

  • in any industrial concern.

We in the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not have totally unblemished records in the use of child labor, particularly in the use of the children of female outworkers (usually poor migrant female workers from Asia), who assist their mothers in the production of garments in sweatshop conditions. One disturbing fact about piecework in the USA and Australia is the incidence of children working. While it is rare to find children directly employed by contractors, children work long hours alongside their parents or other siblings, working on industrial sewing machines after school, until late at night and during school holidays.






School Projects


  2007 by the Anti-Slavery Society. The text on any page may be reproduced provided that the source is acknowledged.  This does not apply to photos.

Last Updated April 01, 2007