Child Slavery

What Is the State of Child Slavery Today?

There are 152 million children in child slavery today worldwide.1 Though every child laborer has a unique story of how their enslavement has affected them and their families, any children engaged in slavery need our help.

Why are children enslaved worldwide?

The financial strain to feed, educate and care for their children can be too much for many impoverished families. Some families sell their children to farm owners or traffickers with the promise of better provision for their children; others need their children to work alongside them to supplement their income. Some traffickers kidnap children from small villages to sell into slavery or use for their businesses. Regardless of how they came to work, these enslaved children often experience harsh treatment, physical abuse, hazardous working environments and long hours for minimal pay. Children may work up to 14 hours a day only to bring home a meager $0.60 to $1.20 for their families.2 However, even small amounts of money can help families who are in dire poverty, which can make even meager incomes an incentive for child labor.

Employers who use child laborers enslave children on cocoa or tobacco farms, in brick kilns and cobalt mines and throughout the fishing industry. Countries with the worst forced underage labor include Bangladesh, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Liberia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia.3 The top regions for child labor are Africa (19.6%), Asia and the Pacific (7.4%), areas where GFA World works.

Child laborers are more susceptible to situations that can cause illness, injury or even death.

Many child laborers do not attend school frequently, and they may drop out altogether. For many destitute families, school feels like a financial burden. Some families must choose between feeding their children and sending them to school.

Through education, however, children learn valuable literacy, math and relational skills. These skills are vital to escaping poverty because they enable children to hope.

What can you do to help? GFA World’s Child Sponsorship Program helps protect children from child labor in Asia and Africa. For $35 a month, you can help children, their families and their communities break the cycle of poverty through community-wide solutions, which may include opportunities for education, medical care, protection against malnutrition, access to clean water and more. When children can attend school with the proper supplies, food and resources, families do not have to resort to child labor to meet the family’s needs.

Will you join us in helping a child today?

Learn more about child slavery

1 “Global Estimates of Child Labour.” International Labour Office.—dgreports/—dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_575499.pdf. 2017.
2 “Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry.” Food is Power. Accessed January 2022.
3 “Worst Countries for Child Labor.” World Atlas. 15 January 2019.