The economic exploitation of children is an insult to humanity. All over the world children continue to work, putting at stake their education, their health, their normal development to adulthood, and even their lives. Millions of them work under hazardous conditions which present dangers to their health, safety and welfare. They toil in mines and quarries, are exposed to agrochemicals in agriculture, squat in crippling positions to weave rugs and carpets, and scavenge in rubbish tips. Too many are enslaved in bonded labour, isolated in domestic service, and traumatized and abused in the commercial sex trade.
Today many people and organizations are concerned about child labour. The number of children working in the world today is higher than most people think, although it is difficult to obtain anything more than an educated global estimate. This is firstly because many kinds of child labour are underreported, and secondly because many countries have no desire or incentive to publicize how many of their young people work. Nevertheless, statistical techniques allow us to estimate that 211 million children aged 5 to 14 and an additional 141 million children aged 15 to 17 are “economically active”, i.e. are involved in some form of work.