What Are Child Labor Statistics?

When it comes to child labor, statistics run the risk of reducing the problem to a litany of numbers, but it’s important to remember that these numbers represent real children with their own stories. Now, let’s consider some of those statistics.

There are about 152 million children considered to be victims of child labor around the world. Almost half of them, 73 million, are employed in hazardous jobs, and up to a fourth of all hazardous labor is done by children under 12 years of age. The industrial sector, including mining, makes up about 12 percent of all child labor.[1]

According to one report, an estimated 40 percent of artisanal miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are children. Of the more than 50 child miners surveyed and interviewed, 19 percent said they had seen another child die on the mining site, 87 percent said they experience body pain, many had been injured, 67 percent had frequent coughs and several girls reported genital infections from working in waist-deep acidic water. An eight-year-old working in a mine alongside his mother said, “Since working here, I have problems with my skin, body pains, and pain in my eyes.” These children are at risk of falling down mine shafts or being trapped in tunnels.[2] This is just one work site in one country in a world full of child labor. Annually, there are 2.78 million deaths around the globe related to child labor, and 374 million injuries and illnesses caused by child labor.[3]

For 15-year-old Lukasa, the mines of DRC were his life.[4]

Every day began at 5 am for a two-hour trek to the cobalt mine. There, he spent eight hours hacking at rocks, then carried as much as 22 pounds at a time for two more hours to a trading depot to sell it. On a good day, Lukasa could make about $9 before taking the long walk home to rest and do it all over again the next day.

DRC’s economy relies on cobalt; it produces 65 percent of the world’s total cobalt supply, and it relies on child labor to mine it.[5]

GFA World is working to combat these tragic statistics, making efforts against child labor in places like Africa and Asia through its child sponsorship program and educating parents on the harmful effects of child labor on their kids, both in the present and in their futures. It only takes a little to change a child’s life forever, to give them hope and a future, so consider sponsoring a child through GFA World.

Learn more about what is child labor

[1] Maki, Reid. “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.
[2] Reid, Kathryn. “Child Labor: Children Reveal Horror of Working in Mines.” World Vision. https://www.worldvision.org/child-protection-news-stories/child-labor-children-reveal-horror-working-mines. June 12, 2013.
[3] Schein, Lisa. “Half the World’s 152 Million Child Laborers Do Hazardous Work”Voice of America https://www.voanews.com/a/half-the-world-s-152-million-child-laborers-do-hazardous-work/4432362.html. June 10, 2018.
[4] Walt, Vivienne & Meyer, Sebastian. “Blood, Sweat, and Batteries.” Fortune. https://fortune.com/longform/blood-sweat-and-batteries. August 23, 2018.
[5] Shuyan, Devashish. “How Blockchain Can Help Fight Child Labor Abuses in Congo’s Cobalt Supply Chain” Bitcoin News https://www.livebitcoinnews.com/how-blockchain-can-help-fight-child-labor-abuses-in-congos-cobalt-supply-chain/. August 28, 2018