Highly Vulnerable Children

What is Child Labor?

In impoverished communities, millions of children work simply because their survival depends on it. When a family is very poor, often young children are forced to work to provide for their own care or add to the household income. Imagine a five-year-old going to bed hungry with no hope of food tomorrow unless they work. This is the basis of child labor.

A Child Labor Definition & Statistics

The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines child labor as “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.” This includes forced labor conditions that put a child in danger of being mistreated mentally, physically, socially or morally.

The suffering of these at-risk children is global.

  • Worldwide 152 million children are victims of child labor1
  • 73 million of these work in hazardous conditions1
  • Almost half of the 152 million victims are aged 5-11 years1

Africa accounts for almost half of child labor (72.1 million), followed by 62.1 million in Asia and the Pacific; 10.7 million in the Americas; 1.2 million in the Arab States and 5.5 million in Europe and Central Asia.

What Are the Causes of Child Labor?

“Child labor perpetuates poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, population growth, and other social problems.”

— Kailash Satyarthi

What Are the Effects of Child Labor?

The effects of child labor are many. Girls and boys often start carrying out hazardous work at very early ages while their bodies and minds are still developing. They often work with dangerous machinery or in unsafe industries like mining, construction and manufacturing.

Some forms of labor expose children to dangerous materials that can shorten her/his lifespan.

Worldwide, the ILO estimates that some 22,000 children are killed at work every year.4 The numbers of those injured or made ill because of their work are not known.

How to Stop Child Labor: Our Highly Vulnerable Children Fund

At Compassion, we believe in the dignity and sanctity of each child. We believe that whether a child is working in the mines of Africa, the fields of Mexico or the factories in India, they deserve protection.

Our Highly Vulnerable Children fund provides support to children who are at risk of exploitation. Support includes foster care, trauma counseling, shelter and even legal assistance.

Together we can fight for the human rights of the child by providing healthy nutrition, educational materials and a safe physical environment to learn and grow.

We also educate the parents of vulnerable children, so they can protect their children from exploitation.

When you give to the Compassion fund for Highly Vulnerable Children you literally rescue a little one from child labor, abuse, exploitation, trafficking, desertion and homelessness.

Help Stop Child Labor Before It Starts. Donate Today.

When you give to the Highly Vulnerable Children fund you offer a lifeline of hope. Your donation will help churches partner with Compassion to intervene with life-saving aid to children who are in a battle for survival and safety.

Want to know how to stop child labor? Partner with Compassion as we work to stop child labor before it starts. Donate today!

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With Compassion, your donation is used wisely to help children around the world.

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Have Questions About Compassion and How We Work?

Donating to a charity is an important decision. So when you’re passionate about a cause and want to make a difference, we encourage you to do your research. Compassion is 100% committed to financial integrity, stewardship and using each dollar wisely. If you have any questions about Compassion or exactly how your donation will be used, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Please call us at 800-336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT, to speak with a Compassion representative.


1 “World Day Against Child Labor 12 June” United Nations, www.un.org/en/observances/world-day-against-child-labour.

2 “Child Labor.” Unicef, www.data.unicef.org/topic/child-protection/child-labour.

3 “Causes.” International Labour Organization, www.ilo.org/moscow/areas-of-work/child-labour/WCMS_248984/lang--en/index.htm.

4 “Hazardous Child Labour.” International Labour Organization, www.ilo.org/ipec/facts/WorstFormsofChildLabour/Hazardouschildlabour/lang--en/index.htm.