What Is the Worst Kind of Child Labor Today?

The two worst kinds of child labor today are hazardous work and human trafficking. As defined by the International Labor Organization, “Hazardous child labour or hazardous work is the work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.”[1]

It goes on to describe human trafficking as including “all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances.”[2]

Approximately 79 million children (of the 160 million total) are in some form of dangerous labor situation.[3] That’s 79 million too many. It’s also very likely that this number is far underreported.

“In areas where national regulations mandate education for children within certain age ranges, the threat of legal consequences likely deters complete reporting,” GFA reported in 2019.[4] There are industries that have a marked interest in hiding these statistics.

Those under the age of 12 perform up to a fourth of all dangerous work with children, and more boys than girls are affected.[5] It can be in nearly any form of industry, but agriculture accounts for the most instances.

It is in these rural, agriculturally-based communities that GFA sends its missionaries to look for and assist children facing illegal and dangerous work. They are trained to recognize and respond to situations where a child has taken on or been given too much or too dangerous labor.

GFA’s Child Sponsorship Program can save these children from never knowing the value of an education and from starvation. Just $35 a month can mean the difference between exploitation and education for a child. The program provides school fees and supplies, as well as nutritious food to supplement what is available to them. GFA World program staff provide tutoring assistance with studies and are shown by these actions, just how much God loves them.

A child today is no doubt waiting for the kindness and generosity of someone like you, thousands of miles away, who knows the love of Jesus and wants to help change lives out of gratitude for what God has done in your own life. Making a difference in the life of one child will have a ripple effect to their family and their community. Sponsor a child today.

Learn more about child labor

[1] “What is Child Labor.” International Labor Organization. https://www.ilo.org/ipec/facts/lang–en/index.htm. Accessed Oct. 15, 2022.
[2] Ibid.
[3] International Labor Organization. Child Labour: Global estimates 2020. https://www.ilo.org/ipec/ChildlabourstatisticsSIMPOC/WCMS_817699/lang–en/index.htm. Accessed Oct. 15, 2022.
[4] Gutheil, Lou. “Child Labor: Not Gone, but Forgotten.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/special-report/child-labor-today/. July 9, 2019.
[5] “10 Basic Facts About Child Labor Globally.” The Child Labor Coalition. https://stopchildlabor.org/the-basic-facts-about-child-labor-globally-from-the-ilo/. July 16, 2018.
* Cover Photo: Cassimiro, Wagner T. “Child Labour.” https://flickr.com/photos/wagnertc/4809536185/. February 5, 2010.