Child Labor Working Conditions

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Hours of child labor

In the world, this year

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TheWorldCounts, 16 June, 2014

Blistered small hands…

Awareness of child labor and its health and mental consequences to children has resulted in the decreased number of child laborers – but we still have a long way to go.

Child labor has declined by 1/3 since the year 2000. The International Labor Organization estimates that from 246 million, the number went down to 168 million children. Half of that number, around 85 million are working in hazardous conditions.

Agriculture remains the highest employers of child labor. This is due to poverty in rural areas of developing countries. Parents put their children to work at a very young age and even sell them to plantation owners to add to the family’s income. Child laborers can also be found in industries such as factories, mining and construction, and in services such as prostitution.

Hard labor at such a young age…

Working conditions that are deemed safe for adults may not be safe for children who have smaller statures and frailer bodies.  Each year, an estimated 2.7 million of healthy years are lost because of hazardous child labor working conditions. Aside from the health risks, child labor stunts the social and educational development of our children.

More: Facts About Child Slavery

In agriculture, studies have shown that more children suffer physical injuries, health issues and even deaths. Several factors can contribute to their hazardous working conditions:

  1. Lack of experience with machineries and sharp tools
  2. Exposure to chemicals such as pesticides
  3. Lack of sanitary facilities such as toilets
  4. Working at a very young age (5 to 7 years old)

Worldwide, the ILO estimates that at least 22,000 children die at work each year.

Other hazardous work conditions and their health risks are:

  1. Heavy load bearing in construction industries
  2. Exposure to radiation in nuclear power plants
  3. Inhaling of solvents and glues in the leather industry
  4. Lead poisoning in the glassworks industry
  5. Mercury poisoning in the mining industry
  6. Deep diving without wet suits in the fishing industry

More: Child Labor Facts and Statistics

Child labor remains one of the most controversial challenges facing our world today. How can we stop it? The global effort has made some progress in stopping the exploitation of children, but the numbers show that we need to be more aggressive in eliminating this abhorrent practice.

Stop Child Labour!

How can you help? 

Employers who hire child laborers have businesses and they want to make a large profit. This is one of the reasons why coffee plantations and clothing industries hire young children, for cheap labor. You, as a consumer have the power to choose which products you buy. 

If you hear that a company is employing child labor, boycott their products. Once the profit margins of companies are affected negatively, they will be forced to change their ways. Choose Fair Trade products instead. Let’s reward companies who are trying to change their business practices.

Find Green Companies and Fair Trade Products at Firmhugger.

There is hope for our children yet. They might still have a chance at a better future, if we act now.

Know more about the challenges we are facing globally. See where you can make a difference. Go to The World Counts: Stories.

References

  1. International Labor Organization: Worst Forms of Child Labor
  2. International Labor Organization: Child Labour: Facts and figures
  3. Wikipedia: Worst Form Hazards faced by Children at Work

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Number of children sold as slaves

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Possible time left

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