Child Labor

Background

Child labor is work that is prohibited for children of certain age groups

Around the world, 215 million children work. Some of these children work full time.

Over half of these children experience the worst kinds of child labor

  • working in hazardous environments
  • slavery
  • drug trafficking
  • prostitution
  • involvement in armed combat
These children don't get to be children
  • no school
  • no play
  • improper nutrition and care

Examples of Child Labor

  • West African children are exposed to hazards while harvesting cocoa beans.
Farmers use child labor to keep prices competitive.
  • In countries such as Burma, Burundi, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan, children serve as soldiers.
Some countries use child soldiers to maintain control of their governments.
  • Around the world, children are trafficked into prostitution.
Around 2 million on bought and sold for prostitution each year.
  • In some countries, children work on plantations and in other industries
  • In Asia, Africa, and Latin America, children haul bricks.
About 60,000 children work in the brick kilns in India alone.

Statistics

  • 215 million children ages 5-17 are involved in some sort of child labor.
  • Around the world, 1 in 6 children work.
  • Children under 18 make up 40-50% of all people in forced labor
  • More than 2/3 of child laborers are in agriculture.
  • Children as young as 5-7 years old are employed in agriculture
  • 122 million children are forced into labor in Asia and Pacific regions alone.
  • 26% of children are enslaved in Sub Saharan Africa.

Solutions

  • Create more strong unions that protect against child labor.
  • Promote education-children will be moved from the workforce and into schools
  • Promote fair trade-farmers will get fair prices for goods and won't have to hire children for low wages
  • Enforce labor laws-many countries have labor laws; they just need to be enforced.

What Can You Do?

  • Educate yourself and others on the issue.
  • Support child campaigns
  • Talk to retailers about use of child labor in the making of their products.
  • Donate to the International Initiative to End Child Labor (IIECL)
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