Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Child exploitation

Child labor

An estimated 246 million children are engaged in child labor. Of those, almost three-quarters (171 million) work in hazardous situations or conditions, such as working in mines, working with chemicals and pesticides in agriculture or working with dangerous machinery. They are everywhere but invisible, toiling as domestic servants in homes, laboring behind the walls of workshops, hidden from view in plantations.

Millions of girls work as domestic servants and unpaid household help and are especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Millions of others work under horrific circumstances. They may be trafficked (1.2 million), forced into debt bondage or other forms of slavery (5.7 million), into prostitution and pornography (1.8 million), into participating in armed conflict (0.3 million) or other illicit activities (0.6 million). However, the vast majority of child laborers – 70 per cent or more – work in agriculture.

Regional estimates indicate that:

  • The Asian and Pacific regions harbor the largest number of child workers in the five to 14 age group, 127.3 million in total. (19 per cent of children work in the region.)
  • Sub-Saharan Africa has an estimated 48 million child workers. Almost one child in three (29 per cent) below the age of 15 works.
  • Latin America and the Caribbean have approximately 17.4 million child workers. (16 per cent of children work in the region).
  • Fifteen per cent of children work in the Middle East and North Africa.
    Approximately 2.5 million children are working in industrialized and transition economies.

Source: unicef