Child labor is defined by UNICEF as "work that exceeds a minimum number of hours, depending on the age of a child and on the type of work." This work consists of hazardous conditions that negatively affect the health of the child. Child labor is a practice that has existed for centuries and continues to be exercised throughout the world today. Millions of children are employed illegally. Approximately 215 million children were working illegally in 2008. Of this massive amount, 14% of the children were under 18. Here is a chart from UNICEF SOWC 2010, which displays the percentage of children, that ranges in the ages 5-14, in child labour by region:


One in six children in developing countries are engaged in child labour

Children ages 5-14 engages in child labour (%), by region (1999-2008)

A significant amount of child laborers are focused in developing countries due to the overwhelming presence of poverty. The percentage of child labor in developing countries is high in the agricultural sector. There are many other activities that are considered as child labor. Many of the following activities are considered illegal by the internation community, but children participation continues to increase. Such occupations include:

                                                • Prostitution
                                                • Military Enrollment
                                                • Slavery
                                                • Trafficking
                                                • Domestic Service
                                                • Factory Production
                                                • Backstreet workshops

The following chart presents the types of labor that children are subjected to in different nations:

Many children fall victim to this heinous practice, and at times, they have no choice but to embrace their fate because it is through working--despite the hazadous conditions that they will work under--that they are able to acquire a small payment to assist their impoverish families. Despite the many resolutions that nations develop to eradicate child labor, it continues to spread like a deadly virus. At times, countries cannot help but utilize child labor because in some cases, the bulk of their GDP is supported on the backs of children. Once child labor, the buttress of their economy, is removed, there is a high chance that every aspect of their economy can be affected or worse, collapse. Until the cycle of poverty in countries is omitted from the scene, child labor will persist.

The exact initiation of child labor is unknown, but in this day and age, many studies tend to focus on the Industrial Revolution as the period where child labor became valuable and prominent.