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Today, throughout the world, around 215 million children work, many full-time. They do not go to school and have little or no time to play. Many do not receive proper nutrition or care. They are denied the chance to be children. More than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labor, illicit activities including drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.

Child labor that is described under international law falls into three categories:

  • The unconditional worst forms of child labour, which are internationally defined as slavery, trafficking, debt bondage and other forms of forced labor, forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict, prostitution and pornography, and illicit activities.
  • Labor performed by a child who is under the minimum age specified for that kind of work (as defined by national legislation, in accordance with accepted international standards), and that is thus likely to impede the child’s education and full development.
  • Labor that jeopardizes the physical, mental or moral well-being of a child, either because of its nature or because of the conditions in which it is carried out, known as “hazardous work”.

The new estimates suggest that there were about 317 million economically active children aged 5 to 17 in 2004, of whom 218 million could be regarded as child laborers. Of the latter, 126 million were engaged in hazardous work.

source: United Nations 2016 Worlds day against Child Labour