Child Labor

Bonded child laborer working in brick kiln factory
(Photo taken by Mathias Heng during a Mission funded by the Society.
 Copyright Mathias Heng).

Child labor tends to be thought of as a 19th century evil that has now been eradicated.  The reality is that, throughout the world, the labor of millions of children still occurs, often in conditions as horrific as the factories of 150 years ago.  These children are forced to engage in back-breaking labor in stone quarries, brick kilns, construction sites, and other hazardous occupations.

There are now estimated to be 200 million child laborers in the world. This is today’s world of nine year old coal miners and eight year old prostitutes, and of little girls who work 12 hour shifts in sweatshops.

In most of these sweatshops, they are forced to eat, sleep and work in the same stuffy, overcrowded room.  Girls rescued recently from one Bangkok sweatshop were forced to work in strict silence from 6 am to midnight.  They were mercilessly flogged for breaking the rules.

These children are robbed of their childhood, they have to toil up to 18 hours a day, seven days a week.  

The material in this report is based on Missions to West Africa, southern and eastern Africa, South Asia and South-East Asia by the Society's Secretary-General, by members of the Society's Board of Governors and by the Society's Program Directors for South Asia and South-East Asia.


Further Information

For more information, read the Society’s publications entitled Myths and Facts About Child Labor ($2.90) and Survey of Child Labor in Asia ($15.50).  Prices include postage.


Links to other pages dealing with this issue:

Different forms of child labor

Children in the carpet weaving industry

Rugmark rugs and carpets

Goods made by child labor

Child soldiers

Society's overseas programs in Africa and Asia

Internet links:

Child miners in Bolivia toil in mines

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  2003 by the Anti-Slavery Society. The text on any page may be reproduced provided that the source is acknowledged.  This does not apply to photos.