Child Rights in China
China has the second-largest child population at 271 million, representing 14% of the world’s children. Impacted by both China’s rapid economic growth and important policy reforms, China has made significant progress in education, health, gender equality and child poverty, continuously improving the situation for migrant workers and the rural population.
Nevertheless, special attention from the private sector is needed to ensure a balanced socioeconomic development, both in order to ensure protection for the most vulnerable groups such as young workers, migrant worker parents and their children, and children who dropped out of work and as a result enter the labour market early. This coupled with the often untransparent hiring practices and widespread use of labour agents, creates risks for companies that they need to address.
An estimated 15.5 million children are left behind by their parents who migrated to coastal provinces for work in China’s manufacturing hubs. The separation can cause significant strain on family relationships, parent wellbeing and children’s development, as well as direct business impact. And while we observe a positive trend of more and more parents bringing their children with them, this often means loose access to the community support systems and challenges in accessing quality childcare and education.
Youth who are out of school and over 16 can struggle to find decent work and integrate into the formal workforce and are often pushed into more informal and less safe working positions, increasing the risk of child labour, including hazardous working conditions for young workers.
In addition, the size of China’s labour force is shrinking; creating a strong, reliable and well-skilled labour force is of essence for companies who want to continue to benefit from China’s advantages as a production country. Companies therefore need to take a strong child rights-based approach to create responsible, family-friendly and child-friendly supply chains in China.
Supporting You in China
The Centre has a strong team in China, which is our first programme country. We have staff based in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing as well as Changsha and are delivering child rights programmes across a broad range of industry sectors across the country. Many of The Centre’s well-established services and products such as migrant parent trainings, young worker trainings and child labour prevention and remediation were piloted in China. As with all countries where we operate, our focus in China is delivering services that support workers and their families whilst also delivering business benefits for participating factories and farms. All of the services that The Centre offers are available in China.
Browse Our Work in China