Researchers in Bradford hope to present recommendations to a UN agency to help prevent children from becoming involved in the worst forms of child labour across the world and help rescue those already engaged in it.

Work has begun at the Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford on a series of pilot studies to understand how armed conflict affects the conditions and involvement of children caught up in child labour, such as slavery, commercial sexual exploitation and illicit or hazardous work.

Researchers at the university will travel to Angola, Sierra Leone, Senegal and southern Sudan in Africa, as well as Palestine, to study how conflict affects child labour in these areas, as part of the International Labour Organisation-funded (ILO) pilot studies.

Dr Mandy Turner, lecturer in conflict resolution at the Department of Peace Studies, said: “There’s obviously child labour in many poor countries around the world, but the ILO was particularly interested to see if conflict generates particularly dangerous types of child labour, such as child soldiers or children working at the checkpoints in Pales-tine. There’s a lot of different ways in which conflict itself impacts on children that are working in these areas, often working because of the poverty situations, but the impact of the conflict itself can be particularly dangerous.”

Researchers in Bradford, led by Professor Nana Poku, former policy adviser to the UN, have linked up with universities and non-governmental organisations where the study is being done.

Dr Turner said: “Basically, the idea is we want to make sure the people who know the situation the most are doing the research and to boost their ability to do this type of research.”

The group, which includes Professors Michael Pugh and Tom Woodhouse as well as Doctors Joao Gomes Porto and Neil Cooper, will make recommendations to the ILO in Geneva when the research is completed.