These guidelines are intended to help researchers and organizations, including national statistics offices, to design and implement studies and data collection tools that are ethically sound and appropriate to collect information about child labour.

Children and young people are routinely asked about aspects of their lives, including work. Children are interviewed in workplaces, in their households and while in the care of service providers.

In any of these situations, interviewing children about their lives and work raises ethical and safety questions for children themselves, for parents or family members who may be responding on their behalf, and for the interviewer.

Understanding the risks, ethical considerations and practical realities related to child labour can help minimize harms and increase the likelihood that children and proxy respondents19 will disclose accurate and reliable information.

To address the ethical and safety challenges associated with researching child labour, it is important for everyone in the research team to understand the potential risks that study participants might encounter by participating in a study – and potential risks for the research team members themselves.

These guidelines can be used for all types of research, from surveys to qualitative focus groups. They were drafted in consultation with experts on child labour and national statistics offices.

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Ethical guidelines for research on child labour