International Handbook on the Economics of Migration
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International Handbook on the Economics of Migration

Edited by Amelie F. Constant and Klaus F. Zimmermann

Migration economics is a dynamic, fast-growing research area with significant and rising policy relevance. While its scope is continually extending, there is no authoritative treatment of its various branches in one volume. Written by 44 leading experts in the field, this carefully commissioned and refereed Handbook brings together 28 state-of-the-art chapters on migration research and related issues.
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Chapter 5: Independent child labor migrants

Eric V. Edmonds and Maheshwor Shrestha


Independent child labor migrants are working children who have migrated to their current location of employment and do not cohabitate with a parent. We do not know how many children are independent child labor migrants. Yaqub (2009) tallies counts from case studies. He concludes the number of independent child labor migrants must be in the tens of millions. Gurung (2004) documents 121 000 from Nepal. Kiell and (2008) identifies 100 000 from Benin. Kielland and Sanogo (2002) estimate 330 000 from Burkina Faso. Camacho (2006) measures 400 000 in the Philippines. Independent child labor migrants can be either international or domestic migrants. We suspect that the latter is more prevalent. Independent child labor migrants are an extremely vulnerable population. They are often found in the worst forms of child labor. The International Labour Office (IPEC, 2003) estimates 1.8 million children in prostitution and pornography. Qualitative work with children in the commercial sexual exploitation sector typically finds that most participants started as independent child labor migrants.

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