6 things you need to know about Child Labour

World Day Against Child Labour | #EndChildLabour

Nearly 1 in 10 children are subjected to child labour worldwide, with some forced into hazardous work through trafficking. An additional 9 million children are at risk due to the impact of COVID-19. Child labour interferes with children’s education, and kills a childhood.

Governments, companies and businesses can contribute to the elimination of child labour, including in all business activities and business relationship.

READ: Child Labour in Malaysia FAQ

1Today, 160 million children are exploited as child labourers.
Young boys weave carpets in a factory

Children aged 5-17 are trapped in child labour, waking up each day to hours of back-breaking work. Almost half of the 160 million children are working in hazardous jobs – toiling in construction sites, plantations, mines, factories, restaurants and as domestic workers.


2Poverty forces children to work.
An adolescent girl sits and cries in a bedroom in a shelter. She was trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Children may be driven into work for various reasons. Most often, child labour occurs when families face financial challenges or uncertainty – whether due to poverty, sudden illness of a caregiver, or job loss of a primary wage earner. Refugee and migrant children risk being forced into work or even trafficked – subjected to violence, abuse, sexual exploitation and other human rights violations.


3Children are kept from school.
A child working at a garbage dumping site. A few women are working with him.

Forced to work for up to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, child labourers miss out on an education and a bright future. Instead they are left with crippling injuries and other health problems.


4Children employed by a business are often invisible.
Hands of a boy holding an implement to break rocks and stones in a mine.

Child labourers include children working illicitly in the supply chain, hidden from the eyes of society. Exploited and used, they are condemned to a life of poverty and want.


5Child labourers end up in a cruel twist of fate.
A young boy squatting on a floor working.

Without an education and with crippling injury, children are less likely to find employment in adulthood. Their enslavement traps generations in a cycle of slavery and poverty.


6Companies and businesses have a role to play.
A young girl works as a child labourer in a farm.

Businesses have a role to play to end child labour. Their leaders must advocate for decent work and minimum school-leaving age legislation, support education and women’s empowerment projects, and promote child poverty eradication initiatives.

Young people like you can stand up for these children. Use your voice to ensure that the brands you buy from do not employ children in their factories. Ensure the chocolate you eat is not cocoa harvested by children. Together, let’s say #EndChildLabour today!

READ: It’s 2020 and modern slavery still exists in Malaysia

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Bunny Wira

champion for children, hero in disguise. I love kangkung!
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Huey Yin
Huey Yin
July 7, 2022 2:59 am

Thank you for writing such an interesting article.

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