Faces of Change: Highlights of U.S. Department of Labor Efforts to Combat International Child Labor
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[Excerpt] Education is the key to advancement and building a better life anywhere in the world. Yet, many children around the world do not have this basic opportunity to go to school and get an education. They are working—in fields and factories, in rural areas and in cities, often under conditions unimaginable in developed countries. Globally, there are an estimated 218 million child laborers, ages 5 to 17. Many of these children have no choice but to endure these hardships because their survival and that of their families depend upon it. Consequently, their potential and futures are compromised. Faces of Change illustrates initiatives at the local, regional and national levels to create long-term commitments and strengthen laws and enforcement to protect children from exploitive labor. It focuses attention on instances such as natural disasters where crisis intervention is critical as families are displaced and children are orphaned and vulnerable to exploitation. Faces of Change also observes that improving economic conditions, such as through international trade, must be part of the equation in eradicating exploitive child labor. Faces of Change shows how concerted efforts, big and small, can make a difference for a brighter future for children around the world.