Child Labor

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What is Child Labor?
Child labor is work that harms children or keeps them from attending school. Around the world and in the U. S., growing gaps between rich and poor in recent decades have forced millions of young children out of school and into work. The International Labor Organization estimates that 215 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 currently work under conditions that are considered illegal, hazardous, or extremely exploitative. Underage children work at all sorts of jobs around the world, usually because they and their families are extremely poor. Large numbers of children work in commercial agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, mining, and domestic service. Some children work in illicit activities like the drug trade and prostitution or other traumatic activities such as serving as soldiers.

Child labor involves at least one of the following characteristics: Violates a nation’s minimum age laws
Threatens children’s physical, mental, or emotional well-being Involves intolerable abuse, such as child slavery, child trafficking, debt bondage, forced labor, or illicit activities Prevents children from going to school

Uses children to undermine labor standards
Where does most child labor occur?
Of an estimated 215 child laborers around the globe: approximately 114 million (53%) are in Asia and the Pacific; 14 million (7%) live in Latin America; and 65 million (30%) live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Child labor can be found in nearly every industry
An estimated 60% of child labor occurs in agriculture, fishing, hunting, and forestry. Children have been found harvesting:

bananas in Ecuador
cotton in Egypt and Benin
cut flowers in Colombia
oranges in Brazil
cocoa in the Ivory Coast
tea in Argentina and Bangladesh
fruits and vegetables in the U.S.
Children in commercial agriculture can face long hours in extreme temperatures, health risks from pesticides, little or no pay, and inadequate food, water, and sanitation....
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