What Is Child Labor

Where Is Child Labor Still Happening?

For those living in wealthy nations, child labor may seem like a bygone problem, but today there are still millions of child laborers, many involved in hazardous work. So where is child labor still happening? About half of child workers, around 72.1 million kids, are in Africa, and there are 62.1 million child workers in Asia and the Pacific.[1] The worst nations in terms of child labor include Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad and Bangladesh. These kids work in various industries, including agriculture, mines, manufacturing and garment factories.[2]

Child labor is more prevalent in the world’s poorest countries, where impoverished families may see no other option for survival. For example, according to a report by the International Labor Organization, 56 percent of brickmakers in Afghanistan are children. One of them was 11-year-old Sima, who worked 13 hours a day, 6 days a week. At the time of the report, she had already been making bricks in the kilns for five years.

Sima had never attended school and was illiterate. Her situation is very typical; many brick workers begin their jobs at five years old. These children suffer the consequences of monotonous, repetitive, heavy lifting for long hours with awkward postures, which include musculoskeletal issues, poor bone development and even early-onset arthritis.[3]

While many countries have laws in place against child labor, they can be difficult to enforce, as that requires manpower and resources. As a result, desperately poor families and unscrupulous companies perpetuate the crisis.

Even so, new measures continue to be introduced, including two recent supply chain management solutions in which companies trace products from beginning to end, making sure they did not involve child labor at any point. In theory, if child labor was used at some point in the chain, the company would then not buy the product.[4]

This is progress, but there is still work to do, which is where GFA World gets involved. GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program provides impoverished kids with essentials such as tutoring assistance, nutritious food, free medical care and school supplies, easing the financial burden on their families and making it possible for them to get an education. This opens many more doors for their futures.

GFA also teaches parents the importance of education in breaking the cycle of poverty. We show them that the future cannot be sacrificed on the altar of immediate relief; the trade just isn’t worth it. It doesn’t take much to change the course of these children’s lives, just $35 a month to sponsor a child, which can prevent them from being forced into labor. They can just be kids, going to school and learning to read and write, and they can witness how much God loves them through this care. Consider joining this work and helping to end child labor one child at a time.

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] Sen Nag, Oishimaya. “Worst Countries for Child Labor.” World Atlas. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/worst-countries-for-child-labor.html. January 15, 2019.
[3] “Buried in Bricks.” International Labour Organization. https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—asia/—ro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_172671.pdf. 2011.
[4] Gutheil, Lou. “Child Labor: Not Gone, But Forgotten.” GFA World Special Report. https://www.gfa.org/special-report/child-labor-today. July 9, 2019.