Unicef: 152 million children have to work

More than 150 million boys and girls have to do child labor, says the UN children’s aid organization Unicef. Almost half of them suffer from dangerous or exploitative conditions.

A refugee boy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo carries sand to a construction site.  There are 152 million child workers worldwide

1According to estimates by the UN Children’s Fund Unicef, 52 million girls and boys are doing child labor. Almost half of them suffer from dangerous or exploitative conditions, Unicef ​​announced on Tuesday in Cologne. World Day Against Child Labor takes place on Wednesday. Governments and companies around the world have a responsibility to prevent child labor, said Christian Schneider, Managing Director of Unicef ​​Germany.

According to Unicef ​​estimates, most of those affected live in Africa (72 million). In Asia there are therefore 62 million. According to Unicef, over 70 percent of working children have to toil in agriculture. According to the Terre des Hommes children’s aid organization, children also work in mining, in quarries or as maids, among other things.

According to Unicef, the number of boys and girls affected fell by almost 100 million between 2000 and 2016, but the decline has recently slowed. “It is not enough to condemn and forbid child labor,” said Schneider. “In order to effectively protect children from exploitation, the living conditions of the children affected must change.” For example, access to education is an important instrument for preventing child labor.

Consumers need to rethink

Against this background, Development Minister Gerd Müller has announced increased efforts in the fight against child labor. “Every company must ensure compliance with basic minimum standards in its supply chain. But I also hope that consumers will rethink their thinking ”, said the CSU politician on Tuesday in Berlin. Cheap chocolate, clothes and bananas come at a price. “If children have to work for it, then the price is too high,” explained Müller.

Unicef ​​counts any activity as child labor for which minors are too young or which is dangerous or exploitative. Work that causes physical or mental harm and activities that keep children from going to school are also considered child labor, according to Unicef.