An estimated 218 million children aged 5-17 are engaged in child labour, excluding child domestic labour. Some 126 million of these children are believed to be engaged in hazardous situations or conditions, such as working in mines, working with chemicals and pesticides in agriculture or working with dangerous machinery. They are everywhere but invisible, toiling as domestic servants in homes, labouring behind the walls of workshops, hidden from view in plantations.
Millions of girls who work as domestic servants are especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked, forced into debt bondage or other forms of slavery (5.7 million), into prostitution and pornography (1.8 million), into participating in armed conflict (0.3 million) or other illicit activities (0.6 million). However, the vast majority of child labourers – 70 per cent or more – work in agriculture.
Regional estimates indicate that:
The Asian and Pacific regions harbour the largest number of child workers in the 5-14 age group, 127.3 million in total. (19 per cent of children work in the region.)
Sub-Saharan Africa has an estimated 48 million child workers. Almost one child in three (29 per cent) below the age of 15 works.
Latin America and the Caribbean have approximately 17.4 million child workers. (16 per cent of children work in the region).
Fifteen per cent of children work in the Middle East and North Africa.
Approximately 2.5 million children are working in industrialized and transition economies.