“Sweat shops” and child labor might seem like something that only happens in “other places,” and while that’s true it’s also prevalent in the dark underbelly of America. While most people know this issue exists, it’s easy to put it on the backburner because (of course) the victims aren’t in the media spotlight. It’s an underground operation for the most part, and out of sight out of mind comes into play.
However, there are many things you can do to stop child labor no matter where you are. It all starts with education and knowing just how big the problem is. Sharing statistics with others, offering solutions on ways to donate time or money, and simply spreading the word on social media sites can make a huge difference. Here are a few facts on child labor that might shock you.
1. Children ages 5-17 biggest targets
Around the world, there are 218 million children who are involved in child labor in some way. This might mean working 20 hours per day with little or no pay. The severity of the situation depends on each unique situation as well as the country. For example, in the US there are minor employed in “under the table gigs” in order to help support the family.
2. There are still slaves
While not all children, there are still 27 million slaves globally. There are more slaves right now than in any other time in history, and the situation is getting worse. Children are especially desirable for slavery because they’re healthy, will grow strong, and are easier to manipulate. In some places, they can also be easily bought.
3. Kids work
Overall, one of every six children around the world works in some capacity. They might not be “on the books,” but might help their mother with sewing for manufacturers or work in the fields. The lack of documentation means these numbers are probably conservative.
4. Agriculture is the biggest crop
According to the International Labor Organization, over 75 percent of child laborers work in agriculture. This is especially prevalent in rural areas where the average age to start working is between five and seven.
5. Forced labor facts
When it comes to forced labor, kids under the age of 18 make up between 40 and 50 percent of victims. Many times this is in dangerous conditions where sexual and physical violence also happens.
In order to tackle this problem, it’s going to take an army and you can be a part of it. Educate yourself, research, and sharing are the pillars to make it happen.