A report issued by the UN on World Day Against Child Labour warns that the global financial crisis is pushing more children into child labour. Ajat Sheikh is 12 and works at a brick kiln in India for 14 hours a day. (Picture: Save the Children)
The government estimates that there are about 12.6m child labourers under the age of 14 in India - the largest number in the world. (Picture: Save the Children)
Experts say that parental poverty and ignorance are the main reasons behind child labour and that children are often vulnerable to physical, mental and sometimes sexual abuse. (Picture: Bachpan Bachao Andolan/Save Childhood Movement)
Irshad, 8, was in school in Bihar state until about a month ago, when he was pulled out by his parents and put to work for nearly 16 hours a day in an embroidery workshop in Delhi. He was rescued with 35 other boys in a police raid.
Tolerance of child labour - especially by the middle classes in India - also has a part to play. Young girls are particularly at risk and often end up employed as housemaids earning only a few dollars a month. (Picture: Save the Children)
Shehnaz's mother died when she was 10 years old. She opted out of school to work as a packer earning less than a dollar a day for seven years. She is now 19, and works as a housemaid to support her family.
Reena, 7, earns a living by selling and distributing rolled cigarettes or "bidis". Many children from rural households end up working in small cottage industries to supplement their parents' incomes.
Sagari, 12, also rolls "bidis" after school. Usually she manages to roll about 500 per day. She complains of backache from sitting for three to four hours in one session, but says she needs to pay tuition fees. (Picture: Save the Children)
Usiran, 12,started off as a rag picker at the age of three, was spotted by a local activist at the age of five and put into school. "If I meet the Prime Minister, I'll tell him that people are always suspicious of us."
Rubel, 15, has been working as a tailor for the last year. He moved to Delhi five years ago, and started off as a rag picker. Does he have any complaints? "No, not really," he says. (Words: Gayathri Sreedharan, BBC News)
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