What Does Child Labor Mean?
Many people ask, “What does child labor mean?” Simply put,
child labor is any “…work performed by a child that is likely to interfere with his or her right to education, or to be harmful to his or her health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.”1
Child laborers work in fields, factories, mines and other industries. According to the ILO, 152 million children—roughly 1 in 10 children worldwide—between 5-17 years old are victims of child labor.2 Child labor is a global issue.
In Africa and Asia—regions where GFA World focus their ministry—over 72 million (Africa) and 62 million (Asia) children experience child labor.2 Many organizations are working to prevent and end child labor, but this exploitative practice continues worldwide even today. Children like Lukasa3 work hazardous jobs in fields, factories and mines to provide crucial income for their families living in poverty.3
Child labor was Lukasa’s only option because his family is destitute. In his small village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lukasa works long, 12-hour days in the cobalt mines. Cobalt is a high-demand mineral used to make batteries, engines and much more.4 Collecting this desirable mineral requires back-breaking work. Lukasa and other child laborers use picks and shovels to break down the ground in shallow mines to collect cobalt. For 12 hours a day, Lukasa will fill up a sack with cobalt and other minerals to sell. If he is lucky, Lukasa may earn up to $8 for the material he mined. $8 feels significant for a young boy; however, it is not enough to support him or his family.
Child laborers do not have opportunities to have fun, play or be kids. Working in cobalt mines exposes Lukasa and other child laborers to extreme heat, dust and potential injury. Moreover, Lukasa cannot attend school. Without an education, Lukasa will likely spend his entire life doing hard labor for minimal pay. Child labor deprives Lukasa of future opportunities.
You can protect children like Lukasa from child labor by becoming a child sponsor. For $35 a month, you can help children, their families and their communities break the cycle of poverty through community-wide solutions, which may include opportunities for education, medical care, protection against malnutrition, clean water and more. Through sponsorship, children feel loved, wanted and hopeful. Even more importantly, children can experience God’s love firsthand!
Please consider sponsoring a child today!Learn more about why is child labor bad
1 “From Work to School – Putting an End to Child Labour.” Education International. Accessed January 2022. https://archive2020.ei-ie.org/en/dossierdetail/15116/from-work-to-school-putting-an-end-to-child-labour.
2 “Global Estimates of Child Labour.”International Labour Office. 2016. https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—dgreports/—dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_575499.pdf.
3 “Blood, Sweat, and Batteries.” Fortune. 23 August 2018. https://fortune.com/longform/blood-sweat-and-batteries/.
4 “Cobalt Statistics and Information.” USGS. Accessed January 2022. https://www.usgs.gov/centers/national-minerals-information-center/cobalt-statistics-and-information.
* Cover Photo: “Child labor”. UNAMID. https://flickr.com/photos/unamid-photo/9172806125/ (CC BY-NC 2.0)