Child Labor

Is There Child Labor Today?

Most people are familiar with the historical practice of child labor; today, it unfortunately remains a prevalent issue around the globe. Among the 160 million children trapped in child labor, 97 million are boys and 63 million are girls. About 71 percent of those child workers are employed in agriculture, which includes fishing, forestry, livestock, herding, and both subsistence and commercial farming. Other services comprise 17 percent of child laborers, and the industrial sector, like mining, about 12 percent.[1]

The areas most impacted by child labor are Asia and Africa. Some of the worst-affected countries are Bangladesh, Chad, The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia.[2]

An article published in Fortune magazine details 15-year-old Lukasa’s story. He lives in a mud-brick home with his family in southern DRC, and he mines cobalt, a major factor in DRC’s economy. The poor nation produces 65 percent of the world’s cobalt supply, which is vital for use in the the world’s smartphones and electric cars. Every day, Lukasa gets up at 5 A.M. to walk two hours to the government-owned mining site. There, he hacks away for 8 hours straight, typically hauling about 22 pounds of cobalt out of the mine and walking an hour to the trading depot to sell the rock. On a good day, Lukasa can earn as much as $9 before walking the long way home.[3]

Impoverished families such as Lukasa’s often feel like they have no other choice but to enlist their children as fellow breadwinners. Many of the parents are illiterate with few skills, which garners only low-paying jobs, and they are so far in debt that they sacrifice the future of their children for immediate relief.[4] This continues the generational cycle of poverty: Children give up their education to work and end up in the same illiterate, unskilled positions as their parents.

GFA World works to inform these impoverished families of the importance of educating their children—opening their eyes to the main way to end the suffocating cycle of poverty. They also provide tutoring assistance at no cost to the family, creating opportunities right in front of them. GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program also offers school supplies, meals and other life skills for kids in need.

Learn more about GFA World’s work against child labor today. Also, consider joining GFA World by sponsoring a child and changing their future for the better. It doesn’t take much to make a world of difference, just $35 a month to impact a child for life.

Learn more about child labor

[1] International Labour Organization. 2021. “Child Labour: Global Estimates 2020, Trends and the Road Forward.” June 10, 2021.–en/index.htm.
[2] Sen Nag, Oishimaya. “Worst Countries for Child Labor.” World Atlas. January 15, 2019.
[3] Walt, Vivienne. “Blood, Sweat, and Batteries.” Fortune. August 23, 2018.
[4] Gutheil, Lou. “Child Labor: Not Gone, But Forgotten.” GFA World. July 9, 2019.