Child labor refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially or morally harmful. Such exploitation is prohibited by legislation worldwide, even though these laws do not consider all work by children as child labor (exceptions include work by child artists, family duties, supervised training, and some forms of child work practiced by Amish children, as well as by Indigenous children in the Americas).

In the world's poorest countries, around 1 in 4 children are engaged in child labor, the highest number of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2017, four African nations (Mali, Benin, Chad, and Guinea-Bissau) witnessed over 50 % of children aged 5–14 working.

Worldwide agriculture is the largest employer of child labor. The vast majority of child labor is found in rural settings and informal urban economies; children are employed by their parents, rather than factories. Poverty and lack of schools are considered the primary cause of child labor. 

Source: International Labor Organization (2012); "Convention on the Rights of the Child". United Nations (2006);  "International and national legislation - Child Labour", International Labour Organization (2011); "Child Labor", The Economist (2005).

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