What Are Some Facts about Child Labor?

Facts about child labor are startling and frustrating, but many people and organizations are working to end this practice. The United Nations’ Target 8.7, in its Sustainable Development Goals, says its members need to “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”[1] Even with such a directive, however, child labor remains a thorny, complicated problem to solve worldwide.

Across the globe, about 152 million children are forced into child labor. Some companies use children to maximize their gain as children are the least expensive labor. Additionally, children have little to no bargaining power and they are easy to manipulate. Because there are so many desperately impoverished families, employers can take advantage of their dire need for extra income.[2]

Unscrupulous companies are only part of the complex problem. Desperate families who are trying to survive day to day can be some of the most unwilling to accept child labor laws, as they could remove a source of income for the family and throw them further into food insecurity or even starvation.

In some parts of the world, for example, a single child working in cotton fields can contribute as much as a quarter of a family’s income.[3] The focus of these families is frequently simply on staying alive, not seeing how sacrificing their child’s education now leads to the perpetuation of poverty in the future.[4] These facts make solving child labor much harder than simply passing some laws.

Some of the worst countries for child labor are Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Bangladesh.[5] Africa and Asia have the highest rates of child labor, and those are the places where GFA World is most active. Families enroll children in the child sponsorship program, helping ensure they receive an education, through vital assistance like healthcare, nutritious food, tutoring assistance and provision of required school supplies the family may be too poor to afford. They also work to teach parents how important schooling is to end poverty. The program opens countless opportunities that a child would not otherwise have.[6]

It does not take much to completely transform these children’s lives. Essentials such as nutritious food, medical checkups, tutoring assistance and school supplies can mean an entirely new, hopeful future. Consider joining this effort by sponsoring a child through GFA World. It is only $35 a month, and it contributes to changing these alarming facts on child labor.

Learn more about what is child labor

[1] “#Envision2030 Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.” United Nations. https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030-goal8.html. Accessed November 10, 2022.
[2] Walt, Vivienne & Meyer, Sebastian. “Blood, Sweat, and Batteries.” Fortune. https://fortune.com/longform/blood-sweat-and-batteries. August 23, 2018.
[3] Gutheil, Lou. “Child Labor: Not Gone, But Forgotten.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/special-report/child-labor-today. July 9, 2019.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Sen Nag, Oishimaya. “Worst Countries for Child Labor.” World Atlas. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/worst-countries-for-child-labor.html. January 15, 2019.
[6] “Sponsor a Child with GFA World.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/sponsorachild. Accessed November 10, 2022.