Child labour by gender

Child labour by gender
Source: INEGI, Módulo de trabajo infantil, MTI 2017.

In 2017, 3.2 million children, aged 5 to 17, were in child labour, representing 11% of the total children population. Out of them, 1.2 million were in hazardous occupations, 801 thousand were too young to work (below the minimum age of 15 years) and 1.3 million were performing household chores that affect their health and development.

Significant progress has been achieved: children in child labour (excluding hazardous household chores) dropped from 3.5 million in 2007 to 2.1 million in 2017, with those below the minimum age halving (from 6.9 percent to 3.6 percent) and those in hazardous occupation reducing by one third (from 26.6 percent to 18.2 percent).

Children in less urbanized areas are more likely to be involved in child labour than their peers in more urbanized areas (13.6 percent versus 7.6 percent). There are substantial differences by region: 19.7 percent of children are child labour in Nayarit, as compared to 5.3 percent in Querétaro.

The majority of children, 56.7 per cent, in child labour (excluding household chores) are working as paid employee, 39.2 percent are unpaid workers, and the remaining 4.1 percent are self-employees.

Child labour by State

Child labour by State
Source: INEGI, Módulo de trabajo infantil, 2017. IV Quarter.



Ratification of Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)


Ratification of Convention on the Rights of the Child


Ratification of Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)


Ratification of Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children


General Law on the Rights of Children and Adolescents, and last reform on December 2019


Ratification of Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)


  • Promote the generation of information and knowledge taking into consideration gender as a crosscutting issue as well as the best interests of the child, with the aim of raising awareness on child labor, forced labor and trafficking in persons.
  • Carry out comparable measurements through the available statistics on child labor, with the use of the Child Labor Risk Identification Model developed within the framework of the Regional Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour.
  • Establish strategic partnerships to eradicate, child labour, forced labour and trafficking in persons in the context of migration.
  • Strengthen the application of preventive actions in supply chains, such as the certification of work centers and the development of standard clauses in collective contracts, to reduce the risk of child labour, forced labour and trafficking in persons.
  • Develop actions with a view to updating labour inspection protocols on child labor and trafficking in persons.
  • Strengthen the capacity of public servants to detect, identify and provide attention to victims of child labor, forced labor and trafficking in persons.
  • Improve coordination efforts at the federal, state and municipal level, promoting the creation of communication networks of the Inter-secretarial Commission for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor and Protection of Adolescents Workers of Legal Working Age in Mexico (CITI) and the Inter-Secretariat Commission to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Crimes in the area of Trafficking in Persons and for the Protection and Assistance to Victims of these crimes.
  • Promote the ratification of the ILO Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930.
  • Set up denunciation lines, anonymous and safe, for child labour, forced labor and trafficking in persons cases.
  • Strengthen intersectoral and international cooperation for the development of strategies to eradicate child labour, forced labour and trafficking in persons.


  • Development of the National Program on Trafficking in Persons responding to the need of prevention, protection and reparation of victims of human trafficking. This program will be the national public policy on the matter for the period 2020-2024;
  • Enhanced coordination through the creation or strengthening of a number of working groups and inter-ministerial commissions. For example:
    • Inter-secretariat Commission to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Crimes in the Matter of Trafficking in Persons and for the Protection and Assistance to Victims of these Offenses.
    • Inter-ministerial Commission for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labour and Protection of Adolescent Workers of Legal Working Age in Mexico.
    • National Network of Local Commissions for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labour and the Protection of Working Adolescent of Legal Working Age.
    • Working group to face the COVID19 health emergency and its impact on child labour and forced labour.
  • Mexico also conducted a series of capacity building activities on child labour issues.
    • Awareness raising through the convening of the 12th National Drawing Contest on Child Labour entitled “Mexico without Child Labour”. The objective of this contest is to allow girls, boys and adolescents to express their opinion about child labour through art; it also seeks to create awareness among the general population on the risks of child labour;
    • Strategic partnerships between the Federal Prosecution Office for the Protection of Girls, Boys and Adolescents and civil society organizations such as World Vision Mexico. This partnership seeks to train various public and private actors to tackle child labour. The Fields of Hope Program seeks to prevent and reduce child labour in the sugar cane and coffee sectors in the states of Veracruz and Oaxaca. This programme is implemented by World Vision and funded by the US Department of Labor.
  • While Mexico as pathfinder country has committed to a number of priorities to tackle child labour and forced labour, additional efforts have been directed towards Target 8.7. For example:
    • Mexico was the first country in the region to implement Phase I and II of the Child Labour Risk Identification Model, through which it was possible to identify the municipalities with the highest probability of child labour in its 32 States.
    • Mexico contributes to the development of a global research agenda on child labour and forced labour through their participation in the International Advisory Board of the MAP16 Project and the Project “From Research to Action: Using Knowledge to Accelerate Progress in the Elimination of Child Labor and Forced Labor”. The advisory board provides technical and strategic guidance to the conduct of child labour and forced labour research. It constitutes a platform for research cooperation and dialogue, which offers the opportunity to share Mexican experience in tackling child labour and forced labour;
    • The National Institute of Statistics and Geography implemented the National Survey on Child Labour in 2019, in cooperation with the ILO which will allow assessing the prevalence of child labour in the country.
  • In December 2020, Mexico published and disseminated the National Survey of Child Labor 2019 (ENTI): This information will serve to implement appropriate actions and policies to address child labour problems. Likewise, the ENTI 2019 will allow continuing replicating and updating the Child Labour Risk Identification Model (MIRTI) at the municipal level, and thereby design policies and actions for the eradication of child labour.
  • Mexico launched a National Network of Local Commissions (CITIs) to prevent and eradicate child labour and protect adolescent workers. The CITI focuses on strengthening and improving inter-institutional coordination at the federal, state, and municipal level, to create synergies and joint efforts to eradicate child labour in Mexico.
  • Mexico fostered the linkage with civil society organizations and international organizations to strengthen ties of cooperation aimed at the eradication of child labour, human trafficking and forced labour.

Next steps

  • National training and awareness-raising strategy to prevent and eradicate child labour

  • Confirmation of the Distinctive in Labour Responsibility

  • Preparation of the Protocol Model to Prevent, Attend and Eradicate Cases of Forced Labour, Labour Exploitation and Child Labour in Work Centres and Supply Chains

  • Awareness raising training, identification and care of foreign victims of trafficking in persons crimes on national territory



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“Mexico reaffirms its global commitment to join efforts and articulate actions to guaranteeing the integral development of the people of Mexico, through welfare actions, in order to eradicate forced labor, trafficking in persons and the elimination of child labor. We cannot wane in our efforts until these unfair practices completely disappear and social justice is guaranteed to our population.”

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