218 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 are involved in child labor, worldwide - 126 million of which work in hazardous conditions, where they may endure beatings, humiliation, and sexual exploitation by their employers.
In India, child labor is just one inevitability in the cycle of poverty. When families struggle to put food on the table, children are sent to work to earn extra money for the family to survive. But it is the system of child labor that lowers average wages, and leaves adults in low-paying, unskilled work, or out of work completely. Employers can pay children much less, and find their size and agility ideal for hazardous physical work such as mining and manufacturing jobs. Kept out of school, these children are unable to get high–skilled work as adults, and the cycle of poverty continues.
Education is key in fighting human trafficking and child labor, so the children of India can grow up to a better future. The NEST (Non-formal Education and Skills Training) Program is working to establish schools in impoverished communities, where the children are most vulnerable to exploitation.