Effects of Child Labor

What Are the Causes and Effects of Child Labor?

The causes and effects of child labor are disheartening. It is a complex issue with real children and real parents involved in very difficult decisions.

The leading causes of child labor include the following:


The most prevalent cause of child labor is poverty. When families cannot survive at their current income levels, they see child labor as a solution to their problem. Often, parents are promised by employers that their children will receive an education, three meals a day and a good wage. Since most parents want these things for their children, they agree to send their child or children to work. In reality, the working conditions are often atrocious and the pay is typically meager.

Natural Disasters

Droughts, famines, earthquakes and other natural disasters create instability that disturbs an area’s economy. Sometimes, as a result of these disasters, children are orphaned and forced into working situations that are hazardous as they attempt to provide for themselves or their siblings.


War creates horrible circumstances, and often children are forced to quit school in order to fight in an armed conflict.

Here are the main effects of child labor:

Child development is hindered.

A child’s ability to learn, explore and reason is stunted, as well as their relational skills, by child labor. Cognitive development in a child is critical and when something like child labor disrupts that development, it may never be recovered.

Physical injury is common.

ILO estimates 2.78 million work-related deaths annually and 374 million injuries and illnesses each year. Children’s bodies are not designed for harsh labor conditions.

Children are trafficked.

The 30 million children who work outside of the country of their birth are at serious risk of trafficking, either for sexual exploitation or as a wartime soldier.

GFA World provides solutions to help families who are in extreme poverty. Through child sponsorship, children and their families are given essentials such as school supplies, nutritious food, access to clean water, educational support, and more. This assistance is often all a family needs to relieve the financial pressures that make child labor look attractive. We also provide income potential for adults through literacy training, vocational classes and more. We aim to show the love of Jesus in practical ways to those who have never heard of Him or His love.

1 Graitcer, Philip L. and Lerer, Leonard B. “Child Labor and Health: Quantifying the Global Health Impacts of Child Labor.” World Bank. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/763941468764713568/pdf/multi-page.pdf. November 1998.