Child labour refers to the employment of children at regular and sustained labour. This practice is considered exploitative by manyinternational 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 Statesset the minimum age to work in an establishment without restrictions and without parents' consent at age 16.
The incidence of child labour in the world decreased from 25 to 10 percent between 1960 and 2003, according to the World Bank.[4
Children as young as three were put to work. A high number of children also worked as prostitutes. Many children (and adults) worked 16 hour days. As early as 1802 and 1819 Factory Acts were passed to regulate the working hours of workhouse children in factories and cotton mills to 12 hours per day. These acts were largely ineffective and after radical agitation, by for example the "Short Time Committees" in 1831, a Royal Commission recommended in 1833 that children aged 11–18 should work a maximum of 12 hours per day, children aged 9–11 a maximum of eight hours, and children under the age of nine were no longer permitted to work. This act however only applied to the textile industry, and further agitation led to another act...