“Beyond despicable.” That’s how child labour industry conditions are described in a new report.
The words “beyond despicable” are more than appropriate to describe how more than 200 million children, as young as five years old, are trapped in “horrible and tragic” labor conditions.
The “beyond despicable” lable is noted by Gospel For Asia — the Christian humanitarian agency — in conjunction with World Day Against Child Labor, spotlighting the ‘horrible and tragic’ plight of children — as young as five — forced to work in horrific conditions. GFA is boosting awareness of the tragic situation, according to a soon-to-be-released report by the agency (GFA, www.gfa.org).
The annual World Day Against Child Labor highlights the plight of child laborers and campaigns to stop the labor exploitation of children in “beyond despicable” conditions.
GFA’s Child Labor: Not Gone, But Forgotten report, which will be released next month, reveals startling facts about child labor, including up to a quarter of hazardous work such as dangerous mining is done by children under age 12. Almost half of all child laborers are under age 11.
“It’s a horrible and tragic story,” said GFA founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan. “Around the world, over 200 million children as young as five years old are employed in often dangerous conditions, and a majority of those children are in forced labor or enslaved. The number is beyond our comprehension. As the Church, it is our responsibility to intercede for the exploited children and do what we can to help them.”
If the estimated 218 million children represented a country of their own, it would be the fifth largest nation in the world, exceeded in population only by China, India, the U.S., and Indonesia, the report states.
GFA says the problem could be worse than officially reported.
“Census data is likely to underestimate the scale of the crisis,” Yohannan said. “Children who are orphaned, living on the streets, or working in forced labor might go unreported. Child labor deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity.”
According to GFA, nations with the largest numbers of child laborers include Bangladesh, which is ranked number one, and the African countries of Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Ethiopia. Top “occupations” for children include working in the clothing industry, agriculture, mining, and brick making. Others work as street vendors, beggars, or garbage dump scavengers.
“The worst forms of child labor are slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, and forced recruitment of children in armed conflict, prostitution, pornography, and other criminal activities,” Yohannan said.
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SOURCE: Assist News, Michael Ireland