The international relief and development organization World Vision notes an increase in the number of working and vulnerable children coming into our child labor mitigation programs over the past two years. This increase is particularly stark in countries with export-dependent economies such as India, Cambodia and Thailand. This trend suggests that the global economic downturn is increasing the level of vulnerability for children around the world.
As the number of export-driven jobs decreases, many children are forced to find income sources for their families, often leading to dangerous situations.
In Cambodia, World Vision’s Campaign to Combat the Worst Forms of Child Labor found that 85 percent of all children working in brick factories were laboring in hazardous situations. Notably, 22 percent of those children were forced by their families to work to pay off family debt and 72 percent were working because their families could not afford to buy food. In the resort town of Phuket, Thailand, World Vision’s Street Children Project has seen a dramatic increase in both local and migrant children searching for work in the tourist bars and clubs.
World Vision urges all government agencies and non-governmental organizations to include child-specific interventions in all economic development and stimulus plans. Unless appropriate actions are taken, more children will fall victim to the worst forms of child labor.
World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. We serve the world’s poor regardless of a person’s religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press
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