Past eventMembersChatham House Forum

Chatham House Forum: Is Child Labour Always Wrong?

20 July 2017 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Chatham House, London


Dr Dorte Thorsen, Gender and Qualitative Research Theme Leader, Migrating Out of Poverty Research Consortium, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex



Goal Eight of the UN Sustainable Development Goals asks that, by 2025, signatory states bring an end to ‘child labour in all its forms’. However, are there cases in which having the ability to work actually benefits children? Does a flat ban impose a simplistic idea of how to end the potential mistreatment of children without adequately assessing the consequences of doing so? Or is the goal a critical measure in the protection of children from poverty and abuse?

Dorte Thorsen will argue that, by outlawing child labour entirely, governments are ultimately harming the very people they are trying to protect. Using examples from around the world, she will make the case that allowing children to work in clean and safe environments is positive for the children themselves and for society. She will end by outlining policies which she believes might be more effective in protecting children from exploitative and dangerous employment.

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Each Chatham House Forum considers a question around an important contemporary debate in international affairs.

An expert speaker will offer a polemic in response - providing their answer to this question and outlining the key arguments that have convinced them of their position. The audience then have the chance to query and challenge the speaker’s views in a Q&A session during the second half of the event.

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