What Industries Are Culprits in Child Labor Today?

There are several industries involved in child labor today, but few rise to the top as the major industries that prey on child labor. Oftentimes, parents are lured under false pretense that their kids will be treated well, given a good education, and fed healthy meals. Some of the biggest industries are:

Fishing – Fishing is a popular form of child labor, especially in Honduras, Philippines, Bangladesh, Ghana, Haiti, Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand.[1]

Fashion and garment making – A child’s fingers are more suited for specific tasks necessary for garment making. This occurs all along the process of making a garment—from the cotton fields through the final steps of packaging a garment. Children cost less than adults, making it advantageous for companies to hire them.

Mining – Mines are a dangerous place for children. Kids are susceptible to falling down the mine shafts, getting trapped or having life-long physical results from their time in the mines. An example of child labor in the mining industry is found in The Democratic Republic of the Congo where cobalt mining is prevalent.[2]

Farming – Child labor in the farming industry is found in most parts of the world.[3] As an example, African children are often trafficked and forced to work in the cocoa fields. “Often, traffickers abduct the young children from small villages in neighboring African countries, such as Burkina Faso and Mali, two of the poorest countries in the world. Once they have been taken to the cocoa farms, the children may not see their families for years, if ever. … Some of the children use chainsaws to clear the forests, and other children climb the cocoa trees to cut bean pods using a machete.”[4]

Why is child labor so prevalent? Children have no voice. They won’t form a union and fight for better conditions. They are compliant, which makes them easy prey for industries who wish to take advantage of them.

Is there a solution? GFA World is committed to providing alternatives to child labor. Families who are living in poverty are given other options and educated on how important it is to keep their kids in school. Through our child sponsorship program, children and their families are provided with basics such as nutritious food, clean water, educational help, school supplies, and other helpful items. These items may seem like small things, but they take some financial burden off the family. When needs are met, the family doesn’t have to resort to child labor.

Learn more about child labor

[1] “Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor, and the 8th edition of the List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor”. U.S. Department of Labor. https://www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ilab/ListofGoods.pdf. September 2018.
[2] Walt, Vivian and Meyer, Sebastian. “Blood, Sweat, and Batteries.” Fortune. http://fortune.com/longform/blood-sweat-and-batteries/. August 23, 2018.
[3] “Methodology of the 2020 ILO-UNICEF Global Estimates of Child Labour.” International Labour Organization. https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/child-labour/publications/WCMS_858553/lang–en/index.htm. October 17, 2022.
[4] “Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry. The Food Empowerment Project.” http://www.foodispower.org/slavery-chocolate/. February 2019.
* Cover Photo: “”Child labour in a metalware factory in Bangladesh.” Shagor Khan. https://www.flickr.com/photos/113504075@N05/16526574938/. March 4, 2015