Based on the 2011 NSO Survey on Children, of the 29.02 million Filipino children aged 5-17, 5.49 million are economically active. An estimated 3.03 million of those working are engaged in child labor, and 2.99 million of them are working in hazardous child labor. Majority (62%) of child laborers under hazardous work are in the agriculture sector, where sugarcane farms are included.
Child labor in the country’s sugarcane industry is driven by a complex set of factors. Primary of these are poverty, lack of access to quality education, cultural acceptance of children working and a lack of reliable data on the magnitude and profile of children working in sugarcane areas.
Hazards faced by children in sugarcane include:
- Cuts and injuries from use of sharp and pointed tools;
- Falling from trucks during harvesting and hauling for milling;
- Burns and poison from fertilizer;
- Injuries from carrying heavy loads;
- Exposure to extreme temperature;
- Long hours of work;
- Snake and insect bites.