Ekklesia reports that the aid and development agency World Vision is warning that the continuing global financial crisis and the damage it is causing local economies is forcing more and more children around the world into the worst forms of child labour.
"Poverty drives people to desperate measures. And in dire situations, children become one of two things: a source of income or a drain on the income," Jesse Eaves, World Vision's policy adviser for children in crisis, has told The Christian Post.
Eaves explained that as demand from the West falls and the number of export-driven jobs decreases amid the economic downturn, businesses in countries like Cambodia, India and Thailand are likely to lay off workers without advanced warning, thus forcing families to find other income sources through their children.
In Cambodia, Eaves noted, 72 per cent of children in brick factories say they are there because their parents cannot afford to buy food and 22 per cent say their parents forced them to work to pay off debt.
In Phuket, Thailand, World Vision reports a dramatic increase in local and migrant children searching for work in tourist bars and clubs.
On the east coast of India, children are making gravel, smashing rocks in temperatures of nearly 40 degrees celsius for up to 16 hours a day, noted Eaves, who visited Southeast Asia earlier this year to examine the problems on the ground.