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Rediff.com  » Business » Shocking! Over 215 million children work as labourers!

Shocking! Over 215 million children work as labourers!

Last updated on: December 2, 2010 13:31 IST

Shocking! Over 215 million children work as labourers!

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'Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.'  -- Walt Disney

Today, December 2, is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

This day recalls the date of the adoption of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (resolution 317(IV)of 2 December 1949) by the UN General Assembly.

Child labour, along with trafficking of people, is the worst form of slavery known to mankind.

The economic exploitation of children is an insult to humanity, says the World Bank.

Around 215 million children across the world are still trapped in child labour, according to the International Labour Organisation.

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Image: An illegal immigrant boy from Myanmar collects plastic at a rubbish dump site near Mae Sot.
Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters
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Millions of them work under hazardous conditions which present dangers to their health, safety and welfare.

All over the world children continue to work, putting their education, health and normal development at stake.

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Image: A young boy takes a break from tilling a field in southern Niger.
Photographs: Reuters
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There are about 115 million children involved in hazardous work.

Children toil in mines and quarries, are exposed to agrochemicals in agriculture, squat in crippling positions to weave rugs and carpets, and scavenge in rubbish tips.

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Image: Radhaysham, 13, an Indian child labourer carries a placard during a rally.
Photographs: Reuters
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Many are enslaved in bonded labour, isolated in domestic service, and traumatised and abused in the commercial sex trade, says the World Bank study.

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Image: Children of sex workers wait to greet Britain's Minister of State for Trade Ian McCartney in Kolkata.
Photographs: Reuters
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Shocking! Over 215 million children work as labourers!

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With 19.27 lakh (1.927 million) child workers, Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of child labourers in India, while Andhra Pradesh's figure had come down to 13.63 lakh (1.363 million).

It is estimated that there are over 6 crore (60 million) child labourers in India.

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Image: Child labourers rescued by the police and NGOs in New Delhi.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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About 10 million children are engaged in child labour in Pakistan out of which 50 per cent are between 5 and 7 years of age.

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Image: Mohammad Hussain (C), an Afghan boy, weaves carpets with his siblings in Peshawar.
Photographs: Fayaz Aziz/Reuters
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Shocking! Over 215 million children work as labourers!

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The Sub-Saharan African region has the highest share of child labourers.

In 18 countries in this region, 38 per cent of all children between 7 and 14 years of age are engaged in work that is harmful to their development.

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Image: Children work at a stone workshop near Kenitra, Morocco.
Photographs: Rafael Marchante/Reuters
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Shocking! Over 215 million children work as labourers!

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About 70 per cent of child labourers worldwide are found in agriculture, with many children engaged in forced and hazardous activities.

ILO estimates indicate that 129 million girls and boys, aged 5-17, are still working in this sector.

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Image: A girl sells beer and food for miners at the Bepeha sapphire mine, Madagascar.
Photographs: Jasleen Sethi/Reuters
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Agriculture is one of the three most hazardous work sectors -- along with mining and construction -- in terms of work-related deaths and injuries, and this is especially true for children, whose lack of experience or training and still-developing bodies make them particularly vulnerable, says a FAO study.

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Image: Garbage collectors look for recyclable waste at a garbage dump site in Kunming.
Photographs: Reuters
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In 2008, Apple found that a total of 25 child workers had been employed to build iPods, iPhones and its range of computers.

Children aged between 9 and 16 from poor families in Liangshan, Sichuan province, have been lured to Dongguan, Shenzhen and Huizhou in the Pearl River Delta area, to work as cheap labourers in factories.

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Image: Two girls are rescued from a factory in Dongguan, Guangdong province, China.
Photographs: Reuters
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Most child labourers continue to work in agriculture. Only one in five working children is in paid employment.

Poverty in rural areas forces many parents to send their children to work. Many young girls who work as domestic servants are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

Around 14.1 million children aged between 5-17 work in Latin America and the Caribbean region, 26 per cent of these children work in the service sector, selling and carrying goods in streets and local markets, or as domestic servants, according to International Labour Organisation.

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Image: A child polishes military boots in a street in Santo Domingo.
Photographs: Reuters
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Child labour has risen in Afghanistan due to ongoing political tensions, war and terrorism.

As families fight for survival, children are the worst hit.

Labourers, most of whom work barefoot and without gloves, earn from $3 up to $8 depending on their working hours and the number of bricks made in a day.

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Image: An Afghan boy works at a brick-making factory in Kabul.
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters
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More than half of the 14-year old children in Cambodia are forced to work to support their poor families.

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Image: Thy Channa, 13, who earns 5,000 riel ($1.20) per day, smiles as he works on the rice field during his school vacation, in Kampong Speu province, west of Phnom Penh.
Photographs: Reuters
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Despite terrible living conditions and the fear of being sent back to their country, several hundred illegal immigrants from Myanmar live and earn an average of $1 per day collecting plastic at the rubbish dump near the border town of Mae Sot.

Myanmar's long-standing political crisis has forced millions of people to cross the border for a better and safer life.

The first refugees arrived and set up camps in the Myanmar-Thailand border in 1984. Now, there are over 140,000 refugees in nine official camps along Thailand's western border.

Many more are expected to be in unofficial settlements.

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Image: A girl carries her sister as she breaks rocks into smaller pieces to be sold for construction purposes in Juba.
Photographs: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
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Many families cannot afford to pay the fees for primary school education. Children working in the urban informal sector in Rangoon and Mandalay often start work at a young age.

Exploitative and dangerous forms of child labour in Myanmar have been widely reported. Children are often forced to work even as military porters.

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Image: Tae (C), a 13-year-old girl from military-ruled Myanmar.
Photographs: Adrees Latif/Reuters
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Most of the 40 children employed at the factory work for 12 hours a day and earn a daily wage of 85 taka ($1.21).

The majority of child domestics tend to be 12 and 17 years old. But children as young as 5 or 6 years old can also be found working.

A survey of child domestic workers found that 38 per cent were 11 to 13 years old and nearly 24 per cent were 5 to 10 years old.

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Image: Mubin, 13, works in an aluminium factory in Dhaka.
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters
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A majority of the children are employed from rural areas to work as agricultural labourers, small factories, while the girls are mostly used as domestic workers in cities.

Sri Lanka is taking measures to eradicate the child labour by the year 2016.

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Image: A boy makes bottle rockets at a fireworks factory near Galle, south of Colombo.
Photographs: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Reuters
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With high poverty rates, Guatemala has a large number of child workers. On an average, Guatemalan children contribute 30 per cent of their family's annual income.

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Image: Children carry their tools as they leave the field at the end of the day in Tecpan, Guatemala.
Photographs: Daniel LeClair/Reuters
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Araya accompanies his mother to pick coffee every year, but children are increasingly leaving the trade.

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Image: Moises Araya, 12, picks red ripe coffee beans at a plantation in San Miguel de Naranjo, San Jose.
Photographs: Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters
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India is among the nations with the highest child labourers. Child labour accounts for 22 per cent of the workforce in Asia, 32 per cent in Africa, 17 per cent in Latin America, 1 per cent in the United States, Canada and Europe.


Image: A street performer carries a child in a basket after performing a street show at Noida.
Photographs: Parivartan Sharma/Reuters.
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