According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, there are nearly 1.3 million child labourers in Myanmar.

The Myanmar Labour Force, Child Labour and School to Work Transition Survey 2015 was released yesterday in Nay Pyi Taw.

More than 10 percent of the nation’s minors, or 1,278,909 children, are employed across the informal and informal sectors, including as unpaid labour for family businesses such as farming.

Numbering 676,208, boys account for a larger share of this workforce than girls, who the survey found to number 602,701.

While the figures are large, more than 75pc, or 966,758 children, are 15 to 17 years old, an age range where employment is legal across most of the developed and developing world.

Where Myanmar’s child labourers differ from minors in developed countries, however, is in the amount of time spent on the job: 52 hours a week for the average Myanmar child labourer. An estimated 24.4pc to 33.6pc are considered “hard workers” clocking 60 or more hours a week.

It is illegal for children aged 14 to 16 years to work more than four hours a day, according to the 2016 Shops and Work Departments Law.

Nearly 80pc of working children are from rural areas.

Of the child labour pool, a 60.5pc majority are working in agricultural, forestry and fisheries jobs; 12pc are in manufacturing; 11.1pc are in trade; and 6.1pc are in the services sector, the report said.
The average child labourer is paid K400 (US$0.33) an hour across all sectors. Paid workers account for 57pc of the total child workforce, while the remainder are largely working without pay for their families.

“After we compared initial data of the survey with the 2014 census survey [on child labour], we found some differences. That’s why we conducted data collection again on some households – out of 53 data-collecting wards – to verify whether the survey’s results are correct or not,” said U Myo Aung, permanent secretary and director general of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population.