Tackling the Drivers of Child Labour and Children in Modern Slavery – A Child Centred Approach

start date
15 Sep 2018
end date
31 Mar 2023

This programme is co-developing, with stakeholders, innovative and context-appropriate ways to increase options for children to avoid engagement in hazardous, exploitative labour in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal. It is designed to generate innovation from the ground, which can sustainably improve the lives of children and their families.

Its focus is on surfacing key drivers of the worst forms of child labour and developing interventions to counteract them (preventing push factors at community, family and individual level and pull factors from unethical business).

The primary beneficiaries are children in modern slavery and the worst forms of child labour and those who are vulnerable to being drawn into it. The families of these children will benefit from greater resilience to shocks, better options for their children’s safe and healthy future and less intra-family stress and conflict. Businesses will benefit from practical solutions to child-labour free supply chains. Policy makers, NGOs, and researchers will benefit from a knowledge of what works.

Action research for innovation

We will generate activities and interventions through a large scale action research process. Interventions will range from small scale solutions to local problems, behaviour change initiatives, and large scale pilots. Action research is a programming modality which combines evidence gathering and learning from action. It is designed to enable diverse groups to meet over a period of time to consider evidence and generate theories of change about interventions; plan and programme innovative solutions; test the solutions in real time, and then evaluate them. In this way action research groups act as engines of new innovation. These cycles of action and reflection continue until a robust model of action is developed, trialed and can be scaled. We will link multiple and parallel action research groups to form a sophisticated architecture for adaptive learning and management (systemic action research) and will ensure that children are central to this process.

Our aim is to co-develop, with children and families, innovative and context-appropriate ways to increase options for children to avoid engagement in hazardous exploitative labour with the impact of decreasing the numbers of children engaging in the worst forms of child labour, modern slavery and risky migration and improving child well-being.

Key research themes

There are four key strands of work:
1. Innovations in targeted social protection.
2. Supporting positive family dynamics and social norms.
3. Revealing and reducing harm in supply chains
4. Building children’s agency and child-led coalitions.


The programme is led by IDS and is being implemented by a consortium which also includes: Terre des hommes; ChildHope; Consortium for Street Children; the Ethical Trading Initiative & the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.


Image of Danny Burns
Danny Burns

Participation Research Cluster Leader

Image of Pauline Oosterhoff
Pauline Oosterhoff

Research Fellow

Image of Keetie Roelen
Keetie Roelen

Research Fellow / Co-Director, Centre for Social Protection

Image of Marina Apgar
Marina Apgar

Research Fellow

Vicky Johnson

Honorary Associate

Image of Richard Longhurst
Richard Longhurst

Research Associate

Image of Anna Raw
Anna Raw

Project Manager

Image of Erika Lopez Franco
Erika Lopez Franco

Research Officer