Child exploitation is defined as the act of “using a minor child for profit, labor, sexual gratification, or some other personal or financial advantage,” says Legal Dictionary. “Child exploitation often results in cruel or harmful treatment of the child, as the activities he or she may be forced to take part in can cause emotional, physical, and social problems.”1
Such exploitation includes child pornography, prostitution, cheap labor and other areas where large profits can be made by using children. Exploitation may occur by strangers, peers, parents, employers or trusted adults.
What is child exploitation?
There are many forms of this type of child abuse.
Some of them are:
Child Labor Exploitation
– Nearly 1 in 10 children worldwide are involved in child labor, and many of them have been trafficked.2 Migrants and refugees who are moving around are highly susceptible to trafficking. Other families, often in dire circumstances, are promised that their children will be given food, education and job skills. Instead, these children work and sleep in deplorable conditions, labor long hours and often get very little food. Education and any semblance of freedom are unheard of.
– Many girls are sent to live in other households to do domestic work. The parents are often promised that their daughters will receive food, lodging and education in exchange for their labor. The girls may serve as nannies or in other positions, but many times they are not allowed to leave the employer’s home. Often, these girls are shipped from another country, leaving their homes and everything that’s familiar behind
– When a child is forced to marry without their consent, this can be a form of exploitation. In 2018, a UNICEF report estimated there were 650 million child brides worldwide, and that statistic includes girls under age 18 who were already married and adult women who married in childhood.3 Often, child brides are raped and abused, and they frequently give birth in their early teenage years.
Child Sexual Exploitation
– This encompasses many forms of sexual abuse. Many times, the child is given things such as “gifts, drugs, money, status and affection in exchange for performing sexual activities,” says the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.4 These children are often moved from place to place, sometimes even country to country.
– Children as young as 8-years-old sometimes serve as soldiers in armed conflicts. Whether they fight on the front lines, perform suicide missions or act as spies or messengers, they are exploited into serving.
“Today’s slaves are trapped in fishing fleets and sweatshops, in mines and brothels, and in the fields and plantations of countries across the world. It can be called human trafficking, forced labor, slavery, or it can refer to the slavery-like practices that include debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, and the sale or exploitation of children.”5
Nadish, at just nine years old, ran away from home when his mother scolded him for not studying enough.6 He began living in a large railway station in one of South Asia’s largest cities. An elderly man befriended him up and took Nadish to the man’s home village. When Nadish arrived, he became a child slave, spending his days cleaning up animal waste. At the end of the long workday, Nadish was locked in a room and given a small amount of food to eat.
This continued for over two years. Nadish’s mother grieved for her son, but she had no resources to look for him.
One day, Nadish’s captor brought another little boy that he had kidnapped, but he made a crucial mistake. He forgot to lock the door. As soon as the captor left, the boys escaped, ran to the nearest police station and policy were able to apprehend the abuctor.
During Nadish’s captivity, his mother and the GFA missionaries in his community prayed for him. Once he escaped and was reuinited with them, they were there to help him heal and recover from the trauma. Nadish had suffered emotionally and mentally as a result of his captivity and poor treatment. He also missed a lot of school during that time, so the GFA workers helped him catch up in his studies.
You can be part of helping exploited children. Here are just a few ways:
- Pray for the children who are separated from their parents. May God give them comfort and peace as they experience harsh treatment. May God provide an escape for them or a rescuer to deliver them.
- Pray for those who are enslaving children. Complete freedom only comes through Jesus Christ, and injustice can never be solved unless God changes the heart of the oppressor. Pray for God to change their hearts.
- Pray for families who are eagerly searching for their children. Pray for God to comfort them and give them hope.
- Donate to and support organizations that help children who are in the bondages of slave labor.
GFA World is one organization on the front lines of the fight against childhood slavery and trafficking. We care for women and girls who are ensnared in the red-light districts of Asia’s major cities. We work to keep children safe through GFA programs such as the child sponsorship program, providing basic needs such as education support and medical care. Through these programs, families receive practical help and hear about God’s love for them.
Nutritious food, medical care and school supplies ease parents’ financial burden, enabling them to focus their hard-earned income on other crucial family needs.
Join us in sponsoring a child in need today!Learn more about the causes of poverty
1 “Child Exploitation.” Legal Dictionary. June 23, 2015. https://legaldictionary.net/child-exploitation/.
2 “Child Labour.” UNICEF. Accessed February 1, 2022. https://www.unicef.org/protection/child-labour.
3 “Child Marriage: Latest trends and future prospects.” UNICEF. July 2018. https://data.unicef.org/resources/child-marriage-latest-trends-and-future-prospects/.
4 “Child Sexual Exploitation.” NSPCC. Accessed February 1, 2022. https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/child-sexual-exploitation/#what.
5 “Working to End Modern Slavery.” The Freedom Fund. May 2018. https://freedomfund.org.
6 “Chile Escapesfrom Kidnapper after Two Years of Forced Labor.” GFA World. May 2, 2011. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/child-escapes-kidnapper-after-two-years-forced-labor/.