Children are engaged in street selling, as auto mechanics, and in other industries. According to reports, Yemeni children, mostly boys, are trafficked across the northern border with Saudi Arabia for domestic servitude or work in small shops. Some of these children are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation in transit or once they arrive in Saudi Arabia.

CHILD LABOR COALITION PRESS RELEASE: After Saudi Arabia Ratifies Child Labor Convention 138, the Child Labor Coalition Urges Immediate US Ratification

For immediate release: February 28, 2013
Contact: Reid Maki, (202) 207-2820,

On February 23, Saudi Arabia became the 167th country to ratify ILO Convention 138, setting the minimum age at which children in the country can work. The US must join the world community and ratify the convention.

(Washington) –The 31-member Child Labor Coalition (CLC) welcomes news that Saudi Arabia has become the 167th country to ratify Convention 138, setting a minimum age for work at 15, and it urges the US to ratify the convention as well. Drafted by the members of the International Labour Organization in 1973, Convention 138 asks nations to work to eliminate exploitive child labor and establish minimum ages at which children are allowed to work. Most countries have set those minimums at 15 or 16, with about one-third of nations adopting 14 as the age limit on a temporary basis. Convention 138 allows light work that is not harmful for children who are 13-15. In the US, however, children are allowed to perform strenuous labor for wages in agriculture beginning at the age of 12.

“The United States is dedicated to eliminating exploitive child labor around the world,” noted Sally Greenberg, co-chair of the Child Labor Coalition and executive director of the National Consumers League, which played a crucial role in eliminating many forms of child labor in the US in the 19th and early 20th century. “With 167 countries pledging minimum age restrictions for work at 14, 15, or 16, we need to join the international community and do the same.… Read the rest