Relaymedia

U.N. Report: Millions of Children Forced to Labor in Hazardous Jobs

( [email protected] ) Jun 11, 2011 06:10 AM EDT
A child laborer is involved in a work-related accident, illness or trauma every single minute, a new report released by the U.N. International Labor Organization Friday reveals.
Girls carry sacks in a charcoal factory at a slum in Manila April 12, 2011. Reuters/Erik de Castro

A child laborer is involved in a work-related accident, illness or trauma every single minute, a new report released by the U.N. International Labor Organization Friday reveals.

The report has been released ahead of the World Day Against Child Labor, which takes place on Sunday. It reveals the horrific fact that around 115m children across the world are currently forced to work in “hazardous jobs”.

That means approximately half of all child laborers, of which there are about 215m, are forced to work in extremely dangerous jobs that are likely to have a hugely negative impact on their health.

The 115m children currently in “hazardous jobs” carry out tasks such as mining, construction, or work in the manufacturing industry, the study tells.

ILO Director-General Juan Somavia has commented, “Despite important progress over the last decade, the number of children in child labor worldwide, and particularly in hazardous work, remains high.”

He added: “Tackling work that jeopardizes the safety, health or morals of children must be a common and urgent priority.”

Children that work in hazardous jobs are much more likely to suffer injury or death than their adult counterparts.

Overall in the period between 2004 and 2008, the number of children working in hazardous jobs did fall, however, the number aged between 15 to 17 increased significantly by 20%.

The region putting the largest numbers of children into hazardous jobs is the Asia-Pacific, where children represent 5.6% of the overall workforce in such jobs.

Latin America is second on the list. Sub-Saharan Africa follows closely behind, where it was revealed that more than 15% of all children in the region are placed in hazardous jobs.