Highly Vulnerable Children

Protecting Children

The World Day Against Child Labor is held annually on June 12. It is an international day to raise awareness and prompt action to stop child labor in all of its forms.

The International Labour Organziation (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labor in 2002. Since then, the day has focused attention on the prevalence of child labor throughout the world and the action and efforts essential to eliminating it.

Around the world, there are 152 million children in child labor; 73 million of them are engaged in hazardous work that directly harms their health, safety or moral development.1

What is the International Labour Organization?

Created in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, the International Labour Organization was founded on the belief lasting peace is only possible if it’s based upon social justice.

The ILO helps secure a permanent peace for the world by working to improve unjust labor conditions, which include protecting children and young persons from economic exploitation.

What is Child Labor?

A boy in a gray t-shirt carries a stack of bricks on his back

The International Labour Organization 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."

Not all work done by children is child labor. Activities that contribute to a child’s positive development and provide skills and experience for them to become productive members of society are not child labor.

According to the ILO, child labor refers to work that:

  • is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and
  • interferes with their schooling by:
  • depriving them of the opportunity to attend school;
  • obliging them to leave school prematurely; or
  • requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
"In its most extreme forms, child labor involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities – often at a very early age." — International Labour Organization

Child Labor and the Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted by the United Nations in 2015, formally known as The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, replaced and build upon the successful Millennium Development Goals. The Sustainable Development Goals expand the scope of the global community’s efforts to transform the world.

Goal eight of the 2030 Agenda is to "promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all." This goal for sustainable economic growth includes a target (8.7) to end child labor in all its form by 2025.

Alliance 8.7

With Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals world leaders committed to:

"take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms."

Target 8.7 is an ambitious goal, and it cannot be achieved without cooperation and coordination. Alliance 8.7 was created to accelerate action toward the successful achievement of the target.

Alliance 8.7 is a global partnership helping coordinate efforts between governments and organizations involved with the issue of child labor. It exists to prioritize activities, to coordinate and guide action, assign clear responsibilities, report on progress, conduct research, share knowledge, provide technical expertise, drive innovation, leverage resources and foster partnerships toward the elimination of child labor.

A teenager in an orange shirt is carrying a large rock

Help Highly Vulnerable Children

At Compassion, we depend on a network of local churches in low- and middle-income countries to identify children living in unsafe circumstances, including children vulnerable to child labor. These children can receive additional assistance beyond the core benefits of our program. The additional interventions help provide safety, security and stability to the children's lives and reduce their exposure to circumstances traditionally associated with risk of child labor. Some of what we offer includes:

  • Legal resources to find missing children
  • Foster care for children living in violent circumstances
  • Counseling for children who’ve been traumatized
  • Medical care and ongoing support for victims of abuse
  • Intervention for adolescents struggling with alcohol, sexual activity, or truancy
  • Counseling to empower parents to protect and provide for their children
  • Job training and income opportunities for parents so children can stay in school
On average, a child in our sponsorship program spends 4,000 hours in safe, nurturing programs, is at least 50 percent more likely to graduate college, is 14 to 18 percent more likely to have salaried employment and is 35 percent more likely to find white-collar employment as an adult.

Give Today and Help Highly Vulnerable Children.

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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.

1 Global Estimates of Child Labour: Results and Trends 2012-2016 / International Labour Office. Geneva: ILO, 2017


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.