Maltreatment of child labourers in Bangladesh: Prevalence and characteristics of perpetrators

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Child labourers are highly prone to maltreatment mostly perpetrated by members of their immediate family as well as employers and co-workers. This maltreatment is considered to be a serious public health issue. However, little is known about this form of violence.


This study aimed to explore the views of key informants on the prevalence and attributes of perpetrators of the maltreatment of child labourers in Bangladesh.


The key experts were paediatricians, journalists, academics, and government bureaucrats such as policy makers and Non-Government Organisation employees working in the area of child abuse or labour relations. Interviews were purposefully conducted via TEAMS with 17 expert participants. A thematic analysis using NVivo was used to analyse the data.


The key informants were of the opinion that the prevalence of the maltreatment of child labourers was unknown. However, they were of the view that physical maltreatment of child labourers occurred between 70% and 100% of the time, while emotional abuse and neglect was estimated to be 100% followed by 50% for financial exploitation. Child maltreatment is more likely to occur in informal workplace environments. Biological and foster parents were considered the primary perpetrators, while employers and adult co-workers were considered secondary perpetrators. Perpetrators of child labour maltreatment were often characterized as having a history of childhood maltreatment themselves, a lack of knowledge of social awareness and parenting, and suffer from economic difficulties.


The finding also calls into question the validity of key informant interviewing. Only the journalists, academics and medical experts had first-hand knowledge of the maltreatment of child labourers with experts in the NGO sector and government policy makers lacking detailed knowledge of the field.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE19031
Number of pages13
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Perpetrator
  • Child maltreatment
  • Child labour
  • Qualitative
  • Bangladesh


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