A young Indian boy works as a cobbler in Uttar Pradesh. Child labor is a major problem in many developing countries.
All over the world, millions of children are forced to work as laborers. From manufacturing to mining, several industries in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America use children as a cheap and easily exploitable workforce. Although the number of children coerced into forced labor has fallen in many countries in recent years, numerous boys and girls still work in dangerous conditions. On June 12, the International Labour Organization (ILO) aims to raise awareness of the plight of child workers and has designated this date as World Day Against Child Labour.
A Widespread Problem
According to the ILO, child labor often puts children's lives in danger. Of the millions of children worldwide who are forced to work, more than half are exposed to highly dangerous conditions and illegal or unethical practices. In addition to physically perilous work such as mining, children are sometimes coerced into criminal activity such as drug trafficking and prostitution.
The statistics behind child labor highlight how serious this problem is. According to UNICEF, of the approximately 150 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 living in developing nations, around 16 percent are forced to work as child laborers although that number may be low since it's difficult to track how many children are forced to work. Aside from the physical dangers of work, child laborers usually can't attend school, which lessens their future opportunities. Often, parents who can't afford to support their families send their children to work as a matter of survival.
Protecting Children's Rights
World Day Against Child Labour is meant to draw attention to a growing worldwide movement calling for an end to child labor. Among the most notable initiatives adopted as part of this strategy is the widespread ratification of ILO Convention No. 138, which specifies minimum age restrictions for the workforce, and Convention No. 182, which defines the most dangerous forms of child labor.
As a child development agency, ChildFund stands firmly against child labor practices and works in many of the world's poorest countries to protect children's rights and prevent boys and girls from falling into exploitation. To help us continue our work, please consider making a donation to the Children's Greatest Needs fund. Alternatively, to make a direct impact on the life of a child, please consider becoming a sponsor. Your kindness will help us provide essential services to a child and give him or her the chance of a better life free from poverty.