Child labor is the participation of minors in activities with business and more or less strongly akin to the exercise of a profession of an adult. Internationally, the International Labor Organization (ILO) defines the age by comparing the difficulty of the task, at least for children over twelve years.
In practice, the child workers are distinguished among "acceptable" work (light, integrated in the education of the child and family life, allowed by the school) and "unacceptable" work (too long, too far, too dangerous, etc.). It is the latter that generally covers the concept of "child labor". It is estimated that in 2000 more than 210 million children aged 5 to 14 and 140 million adolescents aged 15 to 17 worldwide exercised an economic activity, with over 8 million being in "worst forms of child labor, including activities such as child soldiers, prostitution, pornography, forced labor, trafficking and illicit activities.
Child labor in the Western world
Child labor is the subject of many myths in the Western world, because it is best known for the scandals publicized: a working child is typically seen as a "child-slave" in a third world country, used in Asian textile workshop for a major brand of clothing or a street child selling in South America. In reality, there are children at work in virtually every country in the world, including developed countries such as Italy or the United States factories and textile workshops that mask the fact that over three quarters of this work is found in agriculture or domestic activities in the domestic sphere, and if the child slaves exist, they form a minority.
If the elimination of the "worst forms of child labor" is not discussed, its abolition is however a subject of debate for other children, the fight against poverty and poor working conditions is a common goal to "abolitionist "organizations.