A boy in a farm field in El Salvador rests his hand on a hoe. He’s wearing a baseball cap backward and gazes into the camera.

What you need to know about child labor in photos

Child labor, defined by the International Labour Organization as work depriving children of their childhood, potential, and their dignity, is a pressing global issue. Let’s explore this important topic through a collection of powerful photos.

In Afghanistan’s arid terrain, a young girl in a yellow veil places bricks in rows outside at a factory.
(©2023 World Vision)

On June 12, as we recognize the United Nations–sanctioned World Day Against Child Labour, we reflect on the 160 million children worldwide —  almost 1 in 10  — engaged in child labor.

The back of a boy in a red shirt is turned as he works alongside a man, shaving wood at a woodworking factory.
(©2022 World Vision/photo by Lipy Mary Rodrigues)

Among these children, 79 million worked under hazardous conditions in 2020.

A boy in a vibrant purple long-sleeve shirt kneels in a vegetable field clearing weeds.
(©2022 World Vision/photo by Aboni Albert Rozario)

Most child laborers, approximately 70% (112 million), work in agriculture, predominately farming and herding.

A girl dressed in a patterned blue veil sits in a camp in southern Somalia.
(©2022 World Vision/photo by Gwayi Patrick)

Child labor is most prevalent in impoverished regions, marked by dangers like armed conflict. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest number of child laborers at 86.6 million children, followed by Central and Southern Asia with 26.3 million.

A child wearing a black knit cap sits with their back turned on dirt, breaking rocks in a Kenyan minefield.
(©2022 World Vision/photo by Sarah Ooko)

Children, especially vulnerable during their early developmental years, are at risk of injuries that may not be evident as physical and mental health problems until later stages of life.

A girl’s right hand holds one rung of grates on a window, with an outside view of a blurred scene of trees and sunshine.
(©2021 World Vision)

Approximately 6.3 million children endure forced commercial sex exploitation.

Two boys stack bricks on their heads. Another helps stack, and another sits on the brick wall. One boy leans against the wall holding a brick.
(©2021 World Vision/photo by Bertrand Gailemas)

Due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in child labor.

A girl, obscured by a red veil, sits at a sewing machine at a garment factory.
(©2022 World Vision/photo by Lipy Mary Rodrigues)

Regrettably, child labor prevents children from getting the education they need to break free from the cycle of poverty. One in 3 children in child labor are out of school.

A boy’s back is turned to the camera as he watches other children, wearing backpacks, head off to school.
(©2022 World Vision/photo by Aboni Albert Rozario)

World Vision places children at the center of all our holistic development work to equip communities to sustainably transform themselves.

A bespectacled girl, in a white shirt and navy vest, stands in a public square amid flags.
(©2023 World Vision/photo by Davaasuren Batsukh)

We help empower children to understand and exercise their rights and equip them with tools to work toward their own well-being.

A group of brick workers in Nepal sit on the ground facing a standing person who is speaking under a blue sky with clouds.
(©2023 World Vision/photo by Binod Thapa Magar)

We collaborate with parents and communities to work toward the protection of children, helping safeguard their futures from the injustice of labor exploitation. Our efforts extend to working with governments to advocate for supporting and enforcing national child labor laws.

Children in Nepal seated on the floor in a classroom smile at the camera, some making peace signs with their hands.
(©2023 World Vision/photo by Binod Thapa Magar)

Our dedication lies at the core of supporting and nurturing the positive transformation of communities: helping ensure every child can reach a brighter future and fulfill their fullest potential.

You can help protect children from child labor.