WASHINGTON (AP) – The US Labour Department reported Tuesday that about 168 million children, aged five to seven, who are working around the world last year, about half of them in hazardous jobs.
The report on child labour in 140 countries called this an improvement from previous years. But while the decline is a move in the right direction, 10 per cent of the world’s children still are being forced to work rather than go to school, the department said.
Labour Secretary Thomas Perez says the world needs to do more to address the issue. The report doesn’t include the United States or countries in Western Europe.
“This report shines a light on the estimated 168 million children around the world who toil in the shadows – crawling underground in mine shafts, sewing in textile factories or serving in households as domestic workers,” Perez said. “We are seeing more countries take action to address the issue, but the world can and must do more to accelerate these efforts. When children are learning rather than working, families flourish, economies grow and nations prosper.”
Of the 168 million child workers, 85 million of them work at hazardous jobs, the agency said.