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Countries must do more to fight child labour in agriculture

11 June 2012, Rome - The internationally agreed target of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016 will be missed if countries don’t step up their efforts to combat child labour in agriculture, FAO warned today ahead of the World Day against Child Labour (12 June 2012).

Worldwide 215 million children are child labourers, of whom around 130 million boys and girls between 5 and 17 work in agriculture, including livestock, fisheries, and forestry. Many of them are engaged in hazardous work. Only one in five child labourers is paid - most are unpaid family workers, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). Pervasive poverty is both a main cause and consequence of child labour in rural areas.

Hazardous work often harms a child’s health, safety or morals. A child working in fields where pesticides have been applied, staying up all night on a fishing boat, or carrying loads so heavy that they harm the development of the child’s body - all these are far too common examples of hazardous work in agriculture.

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Crédits: AK-Project