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250 MILLION OF WORLD’S KIDS WORK FULL TIME, REPORT SAYS

SHARE 250 MILLION OF WORLD’S KIDS WORK FULL TIME, REPORT SAYS

Child labor, prostitution and slavery are rising around the world, and 250 million children are working full time in developing countries, double previous estimates, a United Nations report said recently.

The report by the world body's International Labor Organization said 61 percent of child workers were in Asia, followed by Africa with 32 percent and Latin America with seven percent.The ILO said the surge in the numbers was caused by the use of new methodology in collecting statistics from both households and enterprises as well as the inclusion for the first time of children under 10 years old.

Director-general Michel Hansenne said the ILO was aware that poverty was the major cause of child labor but urged governments to try to combat its most intolerable forms such as child prostitution, debt bondage and slavery.

"There are some forms of child labor today which are intolerable by any standard. These deserve to be identified, exposed and eradicated without any further delay," he said.

Some forced bondage practices still used today were nearly the same as chattel slavery of 200 years ago, the report said.

Children were still being sold for money or bought by landlords from their tenants in South and Southeast Asia and West Africa despite official denials, it added.

Girls from Latin America were being sold for sex to Europe and the Middle East, from South Asia to northern Europe and the Middle East and from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine to Hungary, Poland and the Baltic States or to Western Europe, it said.

In Asia, a million children were victims of the sex trade, the report said. Thailand was a well-established route for trafficking in children, and the problem was growing in India, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

The ILO warned that sex tourism aimed at children was on the rise, and called for sanctions against sex tours and the extension of national laws to plug escape routes for people committing sex crimes against children.

With rapid technological advances, the Internet was increasingly being used to disseminate child pornography, the report added.

Many working children were exposed to dangerous chemical and biological hazards which often affected their growth, the ILO said.

A survey in the Philippines found more than 60 percent of working children exposed to health risks.