Children who Work

Children who Work

A young girl working in Guatemala. Photo: <a href="http://flickr.com/photos/noesunjoc/300356800/">noesnjoc (flickr)</a>
A young girl working in Guatemala. Photo: noesnjoc (flickr)

According to Unicef estimates, one in six children (158 million) aged 5-14 are engaged in child labor. These kids aren't working at the local shopping center. Rather, they sell goods on the street, clean houses, or work in small factories and stay away from the watchful eye of local law enforcement or inspectors.

Despite being considered exploitative by many organizations and countries, child labor is still common and occurs in countries like India and Guatemala, as well as the United States and the U.K.

The problem of child labor is complex and stems from adult poverty. For many poor families, working children contribute much needed income that prevents their family from falling deeper into poverty. Product boycotts and factory raids over child labor can sometimes prove more harmful as children turn to more dangerous jobs like mining and prostitution to earn money.

Slate Magazine's Today in Pictures captures images of working children dating back to 1942. What's most striking to me is how young and tiny some of the children are in the photos. I'm used to seeing adults performing the jobs that these small children are doing.

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