The Statistics

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According to the Human Rights Watch** introductory article about child labor, the International Labor Organization** estimates that about 250 million children between the ages of five and fourteen work.  Of these 250 million children, 120 million of them work full time, with 61% of them working in Asia, 32% in Africa, and 7% in Latin America . In Asia, with China being a leader in the manufacturing business, it's no surprise that they would house 61% of the 120 million full time child laborers.

Ching-Ching Ni** of the Los Angeles Times wrote that in China, the Chinese government forbids child workers under the age of sixteen, but it is said that this law isn’t enforced very well.  In estimates, as many as 10 million children are working in China’s factories, contributing their part to keep China a low-cost manufacturing powerhouse.  The employers of child laborers make as much as they can, for as little as they can, as if a life of a child is considered “little” at all. Poverty and development have driven a number of rural children away from getting an education, and pushing them to get jobs as child laborers.  Robin Munro, a research director at the China Labor Bulletin said, “The rural education system in many parts of the countryside is in a state of virtual collapse.  There is a high dropout rate of children under 16.  They are not just sitting around doing nothing.  It is safe to assume that most are engaged in some kind of work illegally.” In some rural areas, like those from which Jia Wanyun were from, “every family has a child working in a factory.  Some just 13”. 

Child labor has become something that seems unavoidable for the average rural family in China. For families with more than one child, it's a given that one of them, the girl, would be forced to work in the factories in order to help pay for their sibling's education. Most of the families are unable to pay for even one child's tuition, and, therefore, that child is forced to find an alternative to going to school. This situation almost always leads them into child labor.

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