Many children all over the world do some kind of work. You might have an after-school job, or maybe you help out with chores around the house. This kind of work can be great: you build skills and earn extra cash. It’s not child labour. Only work that’s harmful to a child’s physical and mental development is considered to be child labour. One in seven children is exposed to this kind of labour, kept from school and the chance to improve the situation they were born into. They are often put in danger too. Every year, 22,000 children die from accidents related to their work. And that doesn’t say anything about the mental and emotional harm of being forced to work long, hard hours or experiencing things that no person should.
Child labour is defined as:
Work performed by children under the age of 18 (depending on the country) Long hours of work on a regular or full-time basis
Abusive treatment by the employer
No access, or poor access, to education
Child labour includes selling things in the street or working in someone’s house as a domestic servant. In these cases, it’s not so much the work itself that’s bad, but how the child is treated, how many hours a day they work and whether the work prevents school attendance. In the worst cases, children are trapped in these situations by debts or outright slavery.
Then there are extreme kinds of child labour. One type of what are called the “worst forms” of child labour is “hazardous work,” work that is very difficult and harmful to the child’s physical development. This includes anything from carrying heavy loads and using dangerous machinery to spraying pesticides and working in unclean environments.
The other worst type of child...