Children's rights

Children working for leisure and sports activities as helpers or porters may face particularly dangerous working conditions.

Besides the risks related to all child labour, such as not being able to go to school, being forced to carry out tasks that are harmful for their development, and various forms of abuse and harassment, children working as porters in leisure and sports offers such as trekking or mountaineering often face particularly hazardous working conditions. They may be forced to carry heavy loads and take long routes. Like adult porters, children often do not receive adequate equipment for the harsh weather conditions in the outside settings, such as shoes, protection against the cold, medication, etc. 

See also the related risk card on Children’s rights / Tours and excursions.  

Even though child labor is illegal in Nepal, an estimated 1.6 million children between the ages of five and 17 years are in the work force, according to the National Child Labor Report (see link below).

Children working as porters is a widespread phenomenon in Nepal. Most children work as long or short distance porters, transporting goods such as food, vegetables, bolts of cloth, readymade garments, and construction materials. According to a recent study by World Education and Plan Nepal (see link below), many child porters interviewed come from poor families and have migrated from the countryside to an urban area. 

As a result of the “Trekking Wrongs: Porters’ Rights” campaign by the organisation Tourism Concern, over half of UK trekking tour operators adopted its code of conduct for improved working conditions for mountain porters. In its code, the organisation particularly highlights the prevalence of child porters and that children under the age of 16 should never be employed.

Taking action 300x190

Take action

Policy and process

  • Integrate clauses on young workers/child labour in contracts / supplier code of conduct with excursion providers
  • Adopt code of conduct for improved working conditions for mountain porters.

Supplier Assessment

  • Assess if young workers involved in tours receive special protection and if there is no abusive child labour through second and third party audits.

Communication and reporting

  • Inform your customers on how to protect children during their travel.

Impact assessment

  • Consult young helpers or porters in the context of an in-depth human rights impact assessment to understand the impact of the working activity on their lives, to identify root causes and potential measures to improve their situation.

Find more information on potential measures to take on the "take action" site. 

Learn more

Find more information in the Resource Centre.