WASHINGTON, D.C.—A first-of-its-kind report issued Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor states that children are being systematically and often illegally exploited around the world in the production of a myriad of products, including for the purpose of making sexually explicit content that is often distributed on the internet.
"The International Labor Organization estimates that over 12 million persons worldwide are working in some form of forced labor or bondage and that more than 200 million children are at work, many in hazardous forms of labor," the report said.
Exacerbated by the global financial crisis, children are being increasingly exploited, the report says, especially in the production of cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, coffee, rice and cocoa in agriculture; bricks, garments, carpets and footwear in manufacturing; and gold and coal in mined or quarried goods.
But the report also notes that a growing number of minors are being used in the production of photos and videos depicting child sexual abuse, and it mentions Ukraine, Russia, the Philippines and Thailand by name as countries where the practice is prevalent.
The report lists 122 goods "produced with forced labor, child labor, or both, in 58 countries" from Afghanistan to North Korea to Uzbekistan.
More information and the report can be found here.