Children around the world face many threats to their wellbeing and safety, including prostitution, malnutrition, disease, child marriage, child labor, abuse, and poverty.
Children are regularly trafficked in 161 countries around the world.1 The United States Justice Department recently conducted a study which revealed that child sex trafficking generates nearly $32 billion worldwide each year.2 Additionally, the U.S. State Department estimates that over one million children are exploited in the global sex trade annually.3
Around the world, over 215 million children are forcibly employed in the workforce; many of these children work full-time, and many are involved in vocations that are physically harmful and illegal, such as drug production, prostitution, and armed conflict.4 Children between the ages of five and 17 who are employed often do not attend school and receive little to no proper nutrition and health care.5
Malnutrition accounts for nearly 50% of all child deaths worldwide and over 150 million children in developing countries suffer from malnourishment.6 Malnutrition weakens a child’s immune system and physical reliance, leaving them more vulnerable to infection and disease and decreasing their learning ability and energy levels.7
Over one-third of girls are married before age 18 world wide, and one in nine girls are married before age 15.8 Child marriage is detrimental to the health of young girls in a variety of ways. Girls under age 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women above age 20.9 Additionally, girls married before age 18 are more likely to experience domestic abuse or contract HIV/Aids from their older husbands.10 Every year, more than 14 million girls are married before their 18th birthdays.11
Nearly 3.4 million children worldwide are currently infected with HIV/Aids.12 Diarrheal diseases are the second leading cause of death for children under age five, and diarrhea kills an estimated 760,000 children across the world annually.13 Malaria kills one child every 30 seconds and is responsible for the deaths of one million children each year.14 Pertussis, or whooping cough, kills nearly 300,000 children each year, and pneumonia kills an estimated 500,000 children annually.15
A 2013 World Bank analysis revealed that over 400 million children live in extreme poverty around the world.16 Likewise, UNICEF has estimated that poverty kills over 22,000 children each year.17 Due to poverty, over 72 million primary school aged children were not enrolled in school or receiving an education.18 Worldwide, children account for one-third of all people living in poverty.19
Children are particularly vulnerable to abuse, and 80%–90% of the world’s children suffer from physical abuse in their homes.20 The World Health Organization estimates that 40 million children under the age of 15 are subject to abuse each year.21 Additionally, nearly 150 countries still have not outlawed the corporal punishment of children.22