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Child labour refers to the employment of children at regular and sustained labour. This practice is considered exploitative by many international organizations and is illegal in many countries. Child labour was employed to varying extents through most of history, but entered public dispute with the advent of universal schooling, with changes in working conditions during the industrial revolution, and with the emergence of the concepts of workers' and children's rights. In many developed countries, it is considered inappropriate or exploitative if a child below a certain age works (excluding household chores, in a family shop, or school-related work). An employer is usually not permitted to hire a child below a certain minimum age. This minimum age depends on the country and the type of work involved. States ratifying the Minimum Age Convention adopted by the International Labor Organization in 1973, have adopted minimum ages varying from 14 to 16. Child labor laws in the United States set the minimum age to work in an establishment without restrictions and without parents' consent at age 16, except for the agricultural industry where children as young as 12 years of age can work in the fields for an unlimited number of non-school hours. The incidence of child labour in the world decreased from 25 to 10 percent between 1960 and 2003, according to the World Bank. Child labour is common in some parts of the world, it can be factory work, mining, quarrying, agriculture, helping in the parents' business, having one's own small business (for example selling food), or doing odd jobs. Some children work as guides for tourists, sometimes combined with bringing in business for shops and restaurants (where they may also work as waiters). Other children are forced to do tedious and repetitive jobs such as: assembling boxes, polishing shoes, stocking a store's products, or cleaning. However, rather than in factories and sweatshops, most child labour occurs in the informal sector, "selling many things on the streets, at work in agriculture or hidden away in housesfar from the reach of official labour inspectors and from media scrutiny. According to UNICEF, there are an estimated 250 million children aged 5 to 14 in child labour worldwide, excluding child domestic labour. The United Nations and the International Labor Organization consider child labour exploitative, with the UN stipulating, in article 32 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that: ...States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. In the 1990s every country in the world except for Somalia and the United States became a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, or CRC. Somalia eventually signed the convention in 2002; the delay of the signing was believed to been due to Somalia not having a government.

In a recent paper, Basu and Van (1998) argue that the primary cause of child labour is parental poverty. That being so, they caution against the use of a legislative ban against child labour, and argue that should be used only when there is reason to believe that a ban on child labour will cause adult wages to rise and so compensate adequately the households of the poor children. Child labour is still widely used today in many countries, including India and Bangladesh. CACL estimated that there are between 70 and 80 million child labourers in India Child labour accounts for 22% of the workforce in Asia, 32% in Africa, 17% in Latin America, 1% in US, Canada, Europe and other wealthy nations. The proportion of child labourers varies a lot among countries and even regions inside those countries.

Some NGOs working for children

UNICEF : United Nations International Childrens Emergency Fund : The world body to work for protection of childrens. Working in India Since 1949. PRATHAM : The largest Indian Non-governmental body working with the mission of Every child in school and learning well. It is working since 1994. CRY REAP : Child Relief and You : Reach Education Action Program. It is working to ensure every child a school

At Paradip the NGO working is Lutherian Ashram. Patalipanka, Paradip.