Infographic of the Day: Which Countries Force Kids to Work?

And what do they make?

Infographic of the Day: Which Countries Force Kids to Work?

Remember a few years back, when big companies such as Nike kept getting immersed in sweatshop scandals? You hardly hear about that sort of stuff anymore. But the fact is, child labor and forced labor remain startlingly common throughout the developing world.


This superb interactive chart shows you everything you need to know, from the countries where child and forced labor are most prevalent, to what exactly is being made — the point being to better inform people, so that they can avoid such goods.

The data comes from a report by the U.S. Department of Labor, showing 122 goods made in 58 countries, using children or those working against their will. Here, for example, is the view given of each country. The various industries which use inhumane labor are depicted in icons:

[Click to go to interactive chart]

And once you click on those icons, you get a welter of other sources documenting every last detail of what’s going on:


Once you start getting elbow deep in the chart, you’ll see that some of the reports are quite old — dating to 2002, for example. But the sheer number of them is really the smoking gun — case by case, these studies reveal just how ever present the problem has become.

To be fair, Western economies were built upon slavery and child labor. But better laws and enforcement are obviously only half the reason why we don’t resort to such practices anymore. It’s greater economic opportunities that make education far more valuable that a child’s wage, and create a thriving middle class that finds forced labor unacceptable.

Don’t miss the rest of the chart here.

[Via Information Aesthetics]

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.