Millions of children work to help their families in ways that are neither harmful nor exploitative. However, UNICEF estimates that around 150 million children aged 5-14 in developing countries, about 16 per cent of all children in this age group, are involved in child labour.
Child labour reinforces intergenerational cycles of poverty, undermines national economies and impedes achieving progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.
It is not only a cause, but also a consequence of social inequities reinforced by discrimination. Children from indigenous groups or lower castes are more likely to drop out of school to work. Migrant children are also vulnerable to hidden and illicit labour.