What is child labor?
The International Labor Organization (ILO) defines child labor as work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
Why does Child Labor Exist?
Children may be driven into work for various reasons. Most often, child labor occurs when families face financial challenges or uncertainty – whether due to poverty, sudden illness of a caregiver, or job loss of a primary wage earner. Migrant and refugee children – many of whom have been uprooted by conflict, disaster or poverty – also risk being forced into work and even trafficked, especially if they are migrating alone or taking irregular routes with their families.
Consequences of Child Labor
The consequences are staggering. Child labor can result in extreme bodily and mental harm, and even death. It can lead to slavery and sexual or economic exploitation. And in nearly every case, it cuts children off from schooling and health care, restricting their fundamental rights and threatening their futures. Trafficked children are often subjected to violence, abuse and other human rights violations. And some may be forced to break the law. For girls, the threat of sexual exploitation looms large, while boys may be exploited by armed forces or groups.
Whatever the cause, child labor compounds social inequality and discrimination, and robs girls and boys of their childhood. Unlike activities that help children develop, such as contributing to light housework or taking on a job during school holidays, child labor limits access to education and harms a child’s physical, mental and social growth. Especially for girls, the “triple burden” of school, work and household chores heightens their risk of falling behind, making them even more vulnerable to poverty and exclusion.
152 million children worldwide are victims of child labor; 88 million are boys and 64 million are girls.
72 million are in “hazardous work,” which poses immediate danger to a child’s health, safety and moral well-being.
25 million people are living in forced labor and 6.3 million are children.
7.4% of children in Asia and the Pacific are in child labor, and 19.6% of children in Africa are in child labor.
48 percent of all victims of child labor are aged 5-11 years.
71 percent of child labor takes place in agriculture, which includes fishing, forestry, livestock herding and aquaculture.
19 percent of child labor victims live in low income countries; 2 million victims live in high-income countries.
Resources to Help Put an End to Child Labor:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Krisha Khandelwal is the Founder and Lead Director of Let's Defeat Bullying. She is a 15 year old entrepreneur who is passionate about making a positive impact in her community and the world at large. She is an International level chess player, and an Indian Classical Singer. In her free time, she loves volunteering with children, reading books, and writing articles.
You can connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org