Understanding what child labor is

What is child labor?

How we define it

Not all work that children do is child labor. A child’s age, the number of hours they spend working, and the conditions and nature of the work are all important in understanding if a child is in child labor.

ARISE operates within the legal frameworks and regulatory environments of each country where it is active. 

Internationally recognised standards

ARISE is guided by internationally recognized standards for defining child labor. The International Labour Organization (ILO) offers a broad definition of child labor as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. ILO Conventions establish minimum wages for entry into work in ILO Convention No. 138 on Minimum Age and address the worst forms of child labor in ILO Convention No. 182 on Worst Forms of Child Labour. These Conventions, approaching universal ratification among ILO Member States, provide detail and clarity on what constitutes child labor. More generally, child labor refers to work for which a child is too young, or that is likely to jeopardize children’s health, safety, or morals, including work that interferes with children’s education or their ability to benefit from education. It is this definition that underpins of all our efforts.

National legislation

Differences can exist between the ILO conventions and national legislation; sometimes they can even be contradictory. For example, the ILO conventions state that a 13-year-old is permitted to do light work, however in Brazil national legislation does not permit a child to do light work until they are 16. ARISE always applies the strictest requirements.

Root causes

Aging population

Environmental impacts

Fair wages

Forced labor

Freedom of association/ collective bargaining

Harassment and gendered impacts

Health & safety/CPA management

Labor shortage

Lack of women empowerment

Land ownership

Migrant labor

Non-discrimination and equality

Shortage of work opportunities

Working hours


Our activities

Our activities aim to address the underlying root causes of child labor in the tobacco industry.

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Brazil, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Ethiopia and Bangladesh

We reach thousands of children and their families.

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We use the ILO definition

Not all work done by children should be classified as child labor that is to be targeted for elimination.

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ARISE aims to end child labor in communities where JTI sources tobacco leaf. We work with those directly affected and with others who have the power to change things. Our initiatives are developed and delivered in collaboration with tobacco-growing communities, social partners and governments.