Before you buy your next mass-produced clothing item, bear in mind that the purchase may be fueling the sexual abuse of children… Children who are subject to forced labor often experience sexual abuse at the same location.

In India alone, there are likely well over 8 million child laborers in the 5-14-year-old age group. Many of these children have been illegally trafficked and forced to labor mainly in India’s agriculture and garment sectors among others. Sources suggest most of these children are girls and that they are not only subjected to forced labor, but sexual abuse and exploitation.

Many employers see trafficked girls as a means, not only of commercial increase, but as an object to satisfy their sexual needs.

This trend is not exclusive to India. It is likely to be a reality in many other countries with a high rate of forced child labor.

In Afghanistan, child affairs director at AIHRC, Shamsuddin Tanwir, told Pajhwok Afghan News in a recent interview, “Most of children from poor families are forced into begging or working as laborers are faced with sexual harassment,” he said.

Around 20,000 children (or two percent of the entire population) in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan are involved in hard labor in the province.

Image credit: Conor Ashleigh