Child Labour | Exploitation of children | World Vision UK (2023)

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Child Labour | Exploitation of children | World Vision UK (3)

How World Vision is working to stop child labour and slavery

Child Labour | Exploitation of children | World Vision UK (4)

What is child labour?

The recognised child labour definition is dangerous, often exploitative forms of work that exceed a reasonable number of hours a day and interferes with a child’s education. The term child labour is often also used to cover child slavery as well. Child labour deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity. The worst forms of child labour include illicit activities like child slavery, trafficking, sexual exploitation and hazardous work that put children at risk of death, injury or disease.

World Vision centres on children in labour protection work: empowering children to know their rights, helping them and their families into better jobs, vocational training or education, and working with parents and communities to see that children's futures are not stolen by labour exploitation.

Another important factor in child slavery and labour protection is advocacy - which is where your voice is particularly powerful. We demand that law enforcement and justice systems investigate and prosecute those who exploit children, and pressure and support private sector organisations to strengthen their supply chains to stop using child labour.

How we're tackling child labour:

Child Labour | Exploitation of children | World Vision UK (5)


We educate children on their rights, and improve access to future employment through training, life skills and entrepreneurship, as well as savings and credit services.

Child Labour | Exploitation of children | World Vision UK (6)

Community mobilisation

We support and empower faith leaders, parents, and community groups to monitor vulnerable children and keep them out of hazardous work.

(Video) Faces of child labour in Lebanon | World Vision UK

Child Labour | Exploitation of children | World Vision UK (7)


Thanks to people like you, we are able to provide support for parents to improve their incomes and food security so that children don’t need to work to help support the family.

Child Labour | Exploitation of children | World Vision UK (8)


We advocate for national and UK child labour laws and their enforcement, and promote accountability for communities, governments, and businesses. We also collaborate inPACE - the Partnership Against Child Exploitation- a ground-breaking partnership of NGOs, the private sector, academic and media development organisations working together to combat the worst forms of child labour.

You can help a child for life and end child labour today.

It is estimated that young people who have to work full-time or part-time instead of going to school increase their likelihood of being poor in later life by as much as 30%. Support World Vision to tackle the root causes and keep children in school and out of labour.

I’ll help to stop child labour

Child labour facts

Child Labour | Exploitation of children | World Vision UK (9)Almost 1 in every 10 children worldwide are victims of child labour

(Video) Child labour rises globally for the first time in decades

Child Labour | Exploitation of children | World Vision UK (10)48% of them are aged 5 to 11 years old

Child Labour | Exploitation of children | World Vision UK (11)73 million children are exposed to hazardous work – risking injury and death

Child slavery and labour are not small problems. 152 million children worldwide are victims of child slavery and labour, and disasters such as COVID-19 have made the problem worse. In Asia, as many as 8 million children are working, begging, or marrying because the pandemic has taken their parents’ jobs, and they have to resort to using their children to earn money to survive or pay off debts.

With your support, we work towards the elimination of child labour, to help families break this cycle of poverty. We advocate for children’s rights, support families financially and ensure that children stay in education - tackling the roots of the problem.

Child Labour | Exploitation of children | World Vision UK (12)

Child Labour

Divine's Story

Divine, 12, is from the Democratic Republic of Congo. When her father passed away, she and her sister had to become contributors to the household income to afford food. But she has bigger dreams for her future. "I hope one day to become a teacher. I had a delay in my studies because my father became sick and then I dropped out of school because of the expense. My mother couldn't support me. All I ask is that I be helped with the means to stop selling embers."

Protect children like Divine today. Empower them tomorrow.

Support World Vision’s work to help boys and girls in the world’s most dangerous places.

I'll empower girls like Divine

(Video) No Child for Sale: the 3D's of Child Labour (2013) | World Vision

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More about our work to end child labour

  • All over the world, children are being exploited through child slavery and labour. The definition of child labour is “the exploitative employment of children in an industry or business that deprives them of their childhood, putting them in danger of physical, or mental harm”. This dangerous work at best has negative consequences for their schooling, physical and mental health, and long-term development, at worst includes slavery, trafficking, sexual exploitation, and hazardous work that put children at risk of death, injury or disease. Girls are forced into marriage and boys into armed conflict.

    Not all children who work are being exploited by child labour. Only when children are of an appropriate age for the task, receive appropriate pay and work in safe environments, can they be considered “willing participants in work.” These children can balance work with school and play so they can experience true fullness of life, and they develop the necessary skills to transition into adulthood.

    Exploited children in the labour force are often deprived of these rights and opportunities, working in unfair circumstances, often forced to work in places with poor health and safety, that hinder their development rather than stimulate it. This exploitation is what we work to tackle.

  • During conflicts or natural disasters, families may have to flee from their homes and, in extreme circumstances, resort to using their children as a way of earning money to survive. If families are extremely poor or experience an unexpected loss of a breadwinner, children can be called upon to help support the family.

    When families are unable to break this cycle of poverty, girls and boys might not get access to education at all, or they may be forced to drop out. Work can be seen as a better use of their time - or the only way to help to support their families to provide food or pay off debts.

    (Video) Mina's Dream | Child Labour in Bangladesh

    Child labourers are particularly vulnerable to abuse, and their families are often trapped in a cycle of poverty. Children can be forced to work under threat of violence or death, or they can fall ill and get injured.

  • Child labour is destructive and debilitating - it is estimated that children who have to work instead of going to school increase their likelihood of being poor in later life by as much as 30%. Children can also be forced to work in dangerous conditions, affecting both their physical and mental wellbeing.

    Such jobs include:

    Mining - With a constant risk of major injury or death, mining is extremely dangerous. Many view it as one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Each day children risk their lives without any other choice.

    Working in factories - Exposed to a factory environment with no health and safety regulations, children are forced to work in unhealthy atmospheres with toxic air, heavy machinery and hazardous chemicals.

    Illegal trading - Using children to sell illegal goods on the streets, including drug-related products to gangs, exposes them to things they shouldn’t see or know about at such a young and crucial age.

    There are also cases where children have worked in agriculture or in domestic work, seeing their school attendance suffer as a result of working long hours.

  • Any time a child is engaged in child labour, it violates their rights: they are without a voice and their chance for a bright future slips away. However, in its worst forms, child labour can involve children being enslaved, exposed to dangerous circumstances and sometimes separated from their families.

    These can include:
    Child slavery: Today, an estimated 5 million children are trapped in modern slavery across the globe – including in the UK. Child slavery happens when a child is exploited, owned or coerced into providing labour for another person’s gain. Children are kept against their will and unable to leave.

    Child trafficking: When children are manipulated or forced to leave their homes and are relocated or transported to a life of exploitation, forced to work or sold on, that’s child trafficking. Children in these circumstances are frequently subject to sexual and emotional abuse.

    Debt bondage: This refers to children being exchanged to help pay off outstanding debts. Families who live in extreme poverty may resort to this desperate action and their child is then forced to work to help clear the debt.

  • Children are engaged in child labour around the world, but some practices are more common in certain places.

    Mining is particularly common in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America, where children work long hours in gold mines, without clean water.

    Child labour in factories is typically seen in countries such as Bangladesh and Cambodia, where children are made to work in clothing factories, producing garments.

    Other instances occur in the tobacco industry, where companies have been associated with using labour in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Malawi, the USA and Zimbabwe.

    World Vision is currently working in Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic with children caught up in armed groups, in harmful agricultural practices, in sexual exploitation and in the mining of minerals.

I'll help to stop child labour

(Video) Real Stories: Child Exploitation in Cambodia | World Vision


Child Labour | Exploitation of children | World Vision UK? ›

Children can only start full-time work once they've reached the minimum school leaving age - they can then work up to a maximum of 40 hours a week. Once someone reaches 16, you may need to pay them through PAYE . Once someone reaches 18, adult employment rights and rules then apply.

What was the UK position on child labor? ›

Children can only start full-time work once they've reached the minimum school leaving age - they can then work up to a maximum of 40 hours a week. Once someone reaches 16, you may need to pay them through PAYE . Once someone reaches 18, adult employment rights and rules then apply.

Does child labour still exist in UK? ›

Children are mostly exploited for forced labour

When it comes to modern slavery in the UK, children are being exploited predominantly for forced labour (constituting 63% of referrals) – including forced criminal activity. This is opposed to other forms of modern slavery, such as sexual exploitation (20% of referrals).

Why was child labor banned in the UK? ›

In 1833 the Government passed a Factory Act to improve conditions for children working in factories. Young children were working very long hours in workplaces where conditions were often terrible. The basic act was as follows: no child workers under nine years of age.

What is World Vision doing to end child labor? ›

What is World Vision doing to end child labor? World Vision places children at the center of all our work to transform communities for good. We empower children to know their rights and work toward their own well-being.

What stopped child labour in UK? ›

The campaign against child labour culminated in two important pieces of legislation – the Factory Act (1833) and the Mines Act (1842). The Factory Act prohibited the employment of children younger than nine years of age and limited the hours that children between nine and 13 could work.

When did England ban child labour? ›

Finding a solution. In the early 1830s, as Parliament became more preoccupied generally with the exploitation of child labour, the Chimney Sweeps Act was passed in 1834 outlawing the apprenticing of any child below the age of ten.

What is the legal age of a child in the UK? ›

In England a child is defined as anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. Child protection guidance points out that even if a child has reached 16 years of age and is: living independently. in further education.

How many children are being exploited in the UK? ›

Government data shows that more than 16,000 children face sexual exploitation in England every year, with at least 27,000 at risk of being exploited by organised crime gangs.

What country has the most child labour? ›

Substantial variation in child labour estimates exists across the South Asian countries. In absolute terms, child labour for the 5-17 years age range is highest in India (5.8 million), followed by Bangladesh (5.0 million), Pakistan (3.4 million) and Nepal (2.0 million).

Who stopped child labor? ›

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal sought to prevent extreme child labor, and almost all of the codes under the National Industrial Recovery Act significantly reduced child labor. The Public Contracts Act of 1936 required boys to be 16 and girls to be 18 to work in firms supplying goods under federal contract.

Which country first banned child labour? ›

In 1839 Prussia was the first country to pass laws restricting child labor in factories and setting the number of hours a child could work, although a child labour law was passed was in 1836 in the state of Massachusetts. Almost the entirety of Europe had child labour laws in place by 1890.

When did child labour end in Canada? ›

In 1959 Canada ratified the ILO's Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105), which specifically prohibits forced or compulsory labour as a means of political coercion. In 2000 Canada ratified the ILO's Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No.

Is there still child labor in the US? ›

Dreier estimates that some 250,000 children have crossed into the U.S. without their parents in the last two years, and that the majority of them wind up working full-time jobs. "These are jobs working for household brands like Cheerios, Cheetos, Ford," she says.

What is the controversy of World Vision? ›

Indian controversy

In 2004, the political weekly Tehelka newspaper in India criticised World Vision India for its involvement with AD2000. Commentator Valerie Tarico suggested World Vision and other christian aid organizations use the word "witness" as a code word for seeking converts in places such as India.

How much of World Vision goes to children? ›

Did you know that for each dollar donated to World Vision, more than a dollar's worth of help gets to kids and families? We're always working to keep our overhead low. In 2022, we used 89% of our total operating expenses for programs that benefit children, families, and communities.

Can 15 year olds work in Scotland? ›

if you are under 15 years old, you can work up to 5 hours a day, to a maximum of 25 hours in a week when you don't have to attend school. if you are over 15 years old, you can work up to 8 hours a day, to a maximum of 35 hours in any week when you don't have to attend school.

At what factory machine did the girl work? ›

Girls made up an important part of the factory workforce. They could be found changing bobbins on spinning frames, working in silk factories, and painting watch faces. Young girls often worked as spinners or bobbin girls. Spinners ran machines that twisted fiber into yarn.

Did unions stop child labor? ›

And in 1938, this union-led fight resulted in the first federal regulation of child labor, which ensured that when kids did work, the work would be safe and wouldn't interfere with schooling.

What is the ten hours bill in England? ›

The Factories Act 1847, also known as the Ten Hours Act was a United Kingdom Act of Parliament which restricted the working hours of women and young persons (13-18) in textile mills to 10 hours per day.

How can we stop child labour in India? ›

How we can stop child labour in India?
  1. Spread awareness. If parents and communities are aware and alert, disruption in children's education can be prevented and many of them will not get pushed into child labour. ...
  2. More stringent laws and effective implementation. ...
  3. Sending more children to school.
Oct 12, 2020

What was the ten hour movement in the UK? ›

Ashley-Cooper led the 'Ten-Hour Movement' aiming to reduce the working day for children under 16. Another Factory Act was passed in 1831, limiting the working day to 12 hours for all those under 18.

Is smacking a child illegal in the UK? ›

In England and Northern Ireland it is legal for a carer or parent to discipline their child physically if it is a "reasonable" punishment. However, any punishment over what is considered "reasonable" is illegal.

What is Japan's age of consent? ›

Japan's Cabinet approved a bill Tuesday to recognize a sexual violation even in the absence of physical violence or coercion and raise the age of sexual consent from 13 to 16, as part of reforms to the country's Penal Code.

Is it illegal for two minors to sleep together UK? ›

The age of consent (the legal age to have sex) in the UK is 16 years old. The laws are there to protect children and not to prosecute under-16s who have mutually consenting sexual activity. Any sort of sexual contact without consent is illegal, regardless of the age of those involved.

How common is child neglect in the UK? ›

How many children experience neglect? It's difficult to measure exactly how many children in the UK experience neglect. However, research with 2,275 young people aged 11-17 about their experiences of neglect suggests around 1 in 10 children in the UK have been neglected.

How many children disappear every year in the UK? ›

In the United Kingdom, an estimated 112,853 children are reported missing every year. National Crime Agency, UK Missing Persons Bureau. In the United States, an estimated 460,000 children are reported missing every year. Federal Bureau of Investigation, NCIC.

Is there child trafficking in UK? ›

Children are also trafficked around the UK. It can be difficult to know what you can do if you're worried about a child. We have information and advice to help you feel confident in taking the next steps to keep children and young people safe.

Does China use child labor? ›

Millions of children across China are laborers. This is more common outside the cities where the population is less dense. Families migrate from the cities to rural areas for farmland, but hundreds of millions of families move from rural areas to the city and leave their children behind.

Does China still use child labor? ›

There are reports that children, ages 8-17, are forced to produce bricks in China, with concentrations in the Shanxi and Henan provinces. Victims are from provinces across China; some children are abducted or trafficked through coercion and sold to work in brick kilns.

What are the worst cases of child labor? ›

"Any work that exposes children to sexual abuse (physically or psychologically). Any work that is done underground, under water, at dangerous heights or in confined spaces. Any work that is done with dangerous machinery, equipment and tools. Any work that involves the manual handling or transport of heavy loads.

What role did Britain's Parliament play in child labor? ›

The first major legislation created to place limits on child labor were a series of Factory Acts passed by the British parliament throughout the 1800s. These acts limited the number of hours that children could work and placed regulations on workplaces in terms of safety and cleanliness.

What was the first country to abolish child labor? ›

The United States was one of the first countries to sign the international treaty against child labor.

What country was child labor during the Industrial Revolution? ›

During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries Great Britain became the first country to industrialize. Because of this, it was also the first country where the nature of children's work changed so dramatically that child labor became seen as a social problem and a political issue.

What groups of people led the fight against child labor in the United States? ›

Union organizing and child labor reform were often intertwined, and common initiatives were conducted by organizations led by working women and middle class consumers, such as state Consumers' Leagues and Working Women's Societies.

What did the Britain's Factory Act of 1833 say about child labor? ›

Previous Acts had been restricted to the cotton industry, but the 1833 Act also applied to the older woollen producing communities in and around Yorkshire which had been ignored in previous legislation. No children were to work in factories under the age of nine (though by this stage numbers were few).

What were the effects of child labour in Britain during the Industrial Revolution? ›

Working children were often hurt due to industrial accidents on unsafe machinery, uneducated since there was no time for school after working over 12 hours a day, and were infected with illness and disease due to the unsafe working conditions in which they were exposed.

What problems were caused by children working? ›

Child labour can result in extreme bodily and mental harm, and even death. It can lead to slavery and sexual or economic exploitation. And in nearly every case, it cuts children off from schooling and health care, restricting their fundamental rights.

When did child Labour end USA? ›

It was not until 1938 that Congress finally passed a child labor law (Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA) that would later be upheld by the Court.

What age can I work in the UK? ›

How old do you have to be to work? You can work and earn money from the age of 13, but there are very strict rules about when young people aged under 16 can work. If you are aged 13-16, you are not allowed to work during school hours. You can work for a maximum of two hours on a school day or a Sunday.

Is child Labour illegal in the US? ›

Federal child labor law generally prohibits the employment of minors in nonagricultural occupations under the age of 14, restricts the hours and types of work that can be performed by minors under 16, and prohibits the employment of minors under the age of 18 in any hazardous occupation.

What country uses the most child labour? ›

Substantial variation in child labour estimates exists across the South Asian countries. In absolute terms, child labour for the 5-17 years age range is highest in India (5.8 million), followed by Bangladesh (5.0 million), Pakistan (3.4 million) and Nepal (2.0 million).

When did child labor start in America? ›

The 1870 census found that 1 out of every 8 children was employed. This rate increased to more than 1 in 5 children by 1900. Between 1890 and 1910, no less than 18 percent of all children ages 10‒15 worked.

Where was child labor popular? ›

Historical studies suggest that child work was widespread in Europe and North America in the 19th century, but declined very rapidly at the turn of the 20th century.

Does child labor still exist today in the US? ›

Child labor is back. The Labor Department's wage and hour division recorded a 37 percent increase in 2022 in the number of minors employed in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which outlawed most child labor way back in 1938 and imposed strict limits on the rest.

What banned child labor in the US? ›

The federal child labor provisions, authorized by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), also known as the child labor laws, were enacted to ensure that when young people work, the work is safe and does not jeopardize their health, well-being or educational opportunities.

Does child labor still exist today? ›

Child labor still exists in US, but we have the power to end it.


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