It is no surprise to us that children are involved in gruesome work, be it at night, for longer hours or their exposure to sexual, physical and psychological abuse even to the extent of working underground, on great heights and with dangerous chemicals. Children are one of the most vulnerable members of the society who suffer higher levels of injury and illness under such circumstances. We ourselves may have encountered gory scenes of children operating unsafe machinery, equipment and lifting heavy loads. The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines child labor as work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work. Poverty is certainly the greatest single force driving children into the workplace.
When families cannot afford to meet their basic needs like food, water, education or health care, they have no choice but to send their children to work to supplement the household income. It is linked to other reasons which result in the same like low literacy and numeracy rates, lack of decent work opportunities, natural disasters and climate change, conflicts and mass displacement. 152 million children worldwide are victims of child labor; 88 million are boys and 64 million are girls.There is also a gender dimension to it; girls are more likely to perform heavy domestic work and subjected to sexual abuse and boys are involved in more dangerous work and operating heavy machinery. 48 percent of all victims of child labor are aged 5-11 years. Forced labor is thought to generate around $150 billion a year in illegal profits. The ILO estimates that some 22,000 children are killed at work every year. But due to it being hidden, accurate data is difficult to obtain. SDG Goal 8.7 calls for the elimination of child labor by 2025. Programmes and policies have taken it into account but, we also can do a lot at an individual level by speaking up against it.