The results of the first ever national child labour survey in Yemen suggest the country has more than 1.3 million child labourers, about 17 percent of all children.
An estimated 469,000 children aged 5-11, especially girls, are working as child labourers, with the survey authors saying "a sharp drop in the school attendance rate occurs when a child is employed."
The study defines as child labourers anyone under the age of 14 who is employed, and those in the 14-17 age group who work more than 30 hours a week, or are involved in any designated hazardous economic activities and occupations.
"Working at such a young age can deprive children of their potential, their dignity and their childhood. It can also be harmful to their physical and mental development," Frank Hagemann, deputy regional director for the Arab states from the International Labour Organization (ILO), told IRIN. ILO, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the Social Development Fund provided support to the government's Central Statistical Organization (CSO), which conducted the survey in 2010. ILO and CSO released a report this week based on the findings.
Poverty was identified as the key driver of child labour, as well as the lack of employment opportunities for school graduates and the large and growing numbers of young people; 42.5 percent of the population are under 15.