Child labor, as defined by the International Labor Organization, is “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.” The persistence of child labor is one of the biggest obstacles to human rights globally.
Child Labor perpetuates poverty by depriving children of education and subsequently renders these children without the skills needed to secure the future of their countries.
10 Child Labor Facts
- Australia annually imports $16 million worth of tobacco produced by child labor, including tobacco produced in the U.S. Tobacco cultivation is extremely labor intensive and children are often subjected to serious health risks including nicotine poisoning. Most cigarette smokers in Australia are unaware of the origins of the tobacco they consume.
- According to the ILO, 168 million children worldwide are engaged in child labor as of 2013.
- Of these 168 million children, 85 million are engaged in what the ILO deems “hazardous work.”
- According to a study conducted by the ILO in 2004, the benefits of eradicating child labor would “outweigh costs by nearly six to one.”
- The sub-Saharan African region has the second highest number of child laborers in the world; about 59 million in 2012. According to the Pew Research Center, children aged five to 17, or 21.4 percent, are involved in child labor while 10.4 percent are engaged in hazardous work.
- Agriculture accounts for 60 percent of child labor according to the ILO.
- Only one out of five children involved in child labor is paid for his or her work.
- The majority of children in child labor perform unpaid family work.
- The 10 countries that Maplecroft listed as the worst countries for child labor in 2012 included Pakistan, Afghanistan, North Korea and Myanmar. The other six countries were all in Africa: Sudan, DR Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi and Zimbabwe.
- About 60 percent of children in Ethiopia are engaged in some form of child labor. Many of these children work in the mining industry; an industry that poses some of the biggest dangers for child laborers.
Many parents in impoverished countries push their children to work out of necessity. Unable to sustain their families on their own income, the parents feel that they have no choice but to push their children into child labor.
One of the best ways to combat child labor is to provide fair wages and safe working conditions for parents so that they can provide for their families without being forced to depend on their children. To fight against child labor is to fight against global poverty.
– Matt Berg