Child Labour in the Global Supply Chain

Around the world, 168 million children are in child labour. While child labour occurs mainly in rural and informal economies in the developing countries, it impacts everyone across the globe. The globalization of economies means that our supply chains are increasingly complex and run a risk of engaging child labour especially in the garments and fashion supply chains which reach consumers in Europe, U.S. and beyond. Data from Understanding Children's Work -- an initiative involving UNESCO, ILO and The World Bank -- helps understand the extent of child labour in different countries.

Children in employment, total (% of children ages 7-14)

Children in employment, male (% of male children ages 7-14)

Children in employment, female (% of female children ages 7-14)

Let's break those statistics down by industry...

Child employment in agriculture (% of economically active children ages 7-14)

Child employment in manufacturing (% of economically active children ages 7-14)

Child employment in services (% of economically active children ages 7-14)

Now let's look the number of out of school children in this country...

Children out of school (% of primary school age)

Children out of school, female (% of female primary school age)

One of the consequences of child labour is that it often prevents children from going to school. Young girls, especially those engaged in household labour whose work goes undocumented, are the first ones to be excluded from educational opportunities. According to UNESCO, over a 124 million children and young adolescents globally are still out of school and there has been minimal progress on this issue since 2007.

What can we do?


Educate ourselves about the injustices the children suffer and raise awareness about the state of child labour in the world.


Encourage businesses to be more transparent in their practices and uphold fair and ethical labour standards.


Support international initiatives to promote equal access to education and other social services for children in vulnerable communities.