UN agency says drop in child labor not fast enough

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. labor agency says the number of child laborers involved in hazardous work dropped by half to 85 million from 2000 to 2012, but the rate of progress isn’t fast enough to meet the world’s goal of reaching zero by 2016.

The International Labor Organization’s quadrennial review of child labor statistics highlights the big drop. In 2000, 171 million children between the ages of five and 17 were doing work that directly endangered their health, safety and moral development, according to the agency.

But the agency’s director of eliminating child labor, Constance Thomas, told reporters Monday in Geneva that because of over-optimistic goals set by the world in 2006 “we’re probably not going to reach the target at this pace” for ending all such hazardous work done by children.

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