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Thursday, 22 June, 2000, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Nepal bans child labour in tourism
Kathmandu
Tourism industry is the largest employer of children
By Sushil Sharma in Kathmandu

In Nepal, a law banning child labour in tourism industry has come into force.

The authorities said that the law aims to prohibit the use of children in activities that are hazardous to their health.

Estimates put the number of child workers in Nepal at more than 2 million, and a large number of them are employed in the tourism industry.

Child rights activists have welcomed the law.

The new law identifies jobs in trekking, mountaineering, gliding, rafting, casinos and bars as hazardous to a child's health.

It bans the employment of children under the age of 14 in such jobs.


Children
Poverty forces many children to work
Tourism is one of Nepal's major economic sectors for employment and has been a crucial foreign currency earner.

The law provides for a sentence of up to a year in prison, and a fine of $700 for violations of the law.

Child labour laws

A similar law was introduced a few years ago banning child labour in carpet factories.

Other laws prohibiting child labour in various sectors are already in force, but child rights activists allege that their enforcement is too weak.

Nearly half of the 22 million Nepalese live under poverty line and many children are forced to take hazardous jobs, to support their family.

Critics of the new law say banning child labour could rob many families of vital financial support.

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See also:

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Save Nepalese children appeal
10 Jun 00 | South Asia
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03 Jun 00 | South Asia
EU calls for peace in Nepal
21 Apr 00 | South Asia
Cook presses Nepal on peace
23 Feb 00 | South Asia
Analysis: Nepal's Maoist rebellion
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