Though “childhood” typically conjures up images of running around the playground and learning the fundamentals in grade school, for 215 million kids worldwide, this period is fraught with a much harsher reality.
In countries across the globe, including India and Pakistan, children are forced to work, in factories and food markets, for meager wages and under desperate conditions.
On World Day Against Child Labor, activists took a stand Tuesday to raise awareness about the atrocities of child labor and to work to liberate forced young workers. In New Delhi, for example, police rounded up 26 children from three textiles factories and a metal processing plant, but many more may have escaped, according to the Associated Press. About 50,000 children are believed to be working in factories, in New Delhi alone, and thousands are begging on the streets and sorting garbage.Click through the slideshow to see photos of young workers across the globe on World Day Against Child Labor. Story continues below. SLIDESHOW:
A young Indian bonded child laborer cries as he is walked away after being rescued during a raid by workers from Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or Save the Childhood Movement, at a garment factory in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
Pakistani Thaminah Sadiq, 7, works in a brick factory on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan. Thaminah earns 250 Rupees ($2 .77) per day according to her father. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
A young Indian bonded child laborer rests his head in his hands after being rescued during a raid by workers from Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or Save the Childhood Movement, at a garment factory in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, June 12, 2012 (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer).
A Pakistani boy Mohammad Jahangir, 9, who earns 290 rupees ($ 3.07) in an eight-hour work shift to feed his family, waits for customers at an onion stall in a fruit and vegetable market in Islamabad, Pakistan, (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
A young laborer who works at a food market, is also a part of the dance group Patria Mia -- a group that recruits young workers and helps them transition from labor to school. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Raids on factories in the Indian capital revealed dozens of migrant kids hard at work Tuesday despite laws against child labor. Police rounded up 26 children from three textiles factories and a metal processing plant, but dozens more are believed to have escaped. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
An Indian migrant boy works in a sari factory on World Day Against Child Labor in Katmandu, Nepal. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
A Pakistani boy Javed Khan, 10, who earns 385 rupees ($4.08) in an eight-hour work shift to feed his family, waits for customers at a tomato stall in a fruit and vegetable market in Islamabad, Pakistan. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
A young boy cleans parts of a truck on World Day Against Child Labor in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. This day serves as a catalyst for the growing worldwide movement against child labor. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
A Nepalese boy works at a tea shop on World Day Against Child Labor in Katmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
While the international community adopted a roadmap in 2010 to eliminate the worst forms of child labor by 2016, millions of children worldwide are currently being robbed of childhood and the chance at developing into empowered, educated and healthy adults.
Though World Day Against Child Labor has come and gone, a slew of organizations are still hard at work, trying to free young workers and give them a chance to thrive.
Consider getting involved in the following five organizations that have committed to eliminating child labor and working to pass more stringent laws to protect kids from being forced into working.
Lotus Outreach aims to rehabilitate –- and empower –- exploited women, children and survivors of trafficking through a number of initiatives that offer education and counseling, among other critical programs. Learn how you can get involved here.
For 30 years, the Child Labour Free India Movement has been working to liberate its country’s estimated 4.9 million child workers by rescuing slave children and pushing for more stringent laws against child labor. Find out more about the campaign here.
Inspired by the life and death of a child slave, Free the Children now works to liberate young people from poverty, exploitation and abuse by partnering with schools and families. Learn how you can get involved here.
Supporting 13 victim services programs around the world, the Somaly Mam Foundation rehabilitates former sex slaves and gives them the education and skills they need to heal, and develop into empowered and independent women. Find out how you can support the Somaly Mam Foundation here.
Since 1904, the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) has been working to keep children out of the work force in the U.S. and promoting the rights of children in the areas of labor and education. Learn more about the NCLC’s mission here.