215 million children worldwide are forced to work, trapping them in poverty and denying them an education or a decent future
Child labour is the slavery of our age. It is locking millions of children into lives of poverty, vulnerability and servitude. Yet the same governments, donors and UN agencies now convening endless workshops on the next set of international development goals have failed to respond to a real and present child labour scourge that is destroying lives today on an epic scale.
Headline figures tell part of the story. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), there are 215 million five to 17-year-olds trapped in child labour. Globally, numbers are falling at a desperately slow pace. On current trends there will still be 170 to 190 million child labourers in 2020. In Africa the numbers are going up.
Half of all working children are employed in what the ILO describes as "hazardous conditions". That's a polite euphemism for conditions that would have shocked even the most hardened Victorian social reformers.[view whole blog post ]