The cost of child labor

How can you help these children? (Photo by Compassion International)

How can you help these children?
(Photo by Compassion International)

Int’l (MNN) — The average American between the ages of 25 and 54 works just under nine hours a day. That is according to the United States Department of Labor. However, if you add in every American 15 and over, the average drops to three and a half hours of work per day.

In America, there are few situations in which children under 15 can work legally. There are education laws and child labor laws that protect them from being exploited as a work force.

Yesterday, Compassion International reminded their supporters and partners that this protection of children does not exist in developing countries. They have generated a chart called The Cost of Child Labor that helps educate people around the world about the horrors that exist for children in other countries.

Some of the countries mentioned are Mexico, Brazil, and India. Here are a few of the startling facts presented:

150 million children between the ages of five and 14 are involved in child labor in developing countries. Of these, over 50% work more than nine hours a day.

What makes these facts so significant? Perhaps it is because 80% of the children are not paid for their work. Or perhaps it’s because most of them work in dangerous conditions that are not regulated as they are here in the States.

According to UNICEF’s Child Info site, some of the highest percentages of children working between five and 14 (as of January 2013) are Benin (46%), Burkina Faso (39%), Cambodia (37%), and Somalia (49%).

If these numbers shock you, know that there is something you can do. Along with informing us about the extent and cost of child labor, Compassion reminds us how we can be involved in saving children from this perilous fate. Their work includes prevention and intervention techniques. This is connected directly to education– both of the children and their families.

You can get involved with Compassion’s work here. Or, if you would like to take a more direct approach, sponsor a child today.

Pray that God would comfort these children who work in dangerous conditions each day. Pray that they would be able to salvage some of their childhood before it’s too late, and that they would know the love of Jesus.