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News – Statistics on children

March 2009 | by ACTION International

Statistics on children


HIV/AIDS and disease


More than 38 million people live with HIV/AIDS worldwide, with over 2.3 million children under 15 living with the disease. Every day, more than 1,000 children are newly infected. At least 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, most in sub-Saharan, Africa. It is estimated that a child loses a parent to AIDS-related causes every 14 seconds. By 2010, the number of children orphaned by AIDS globally is expected to exceed 25 million.


War and its effects


ACTION missionaries have ministered to the child soldiers who have been kidnapped in northern Uganda. It is estimated that at least 250,000 young people under 18 are exploited as child soldiers around the world.


Child labour


Over 218 million children, aged 5-17, are engaged in child labour throughout the world. At least 126 million find themselves in the worst forms of child labour: slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, and other forced labour. Girls from northern India have been sold to families from the Middle East as home slaves. Many children are unseen, labouring behind the walls of workshops, hidden from view in plantations. Many are involved in trafficking of these young children to work as bonded slaves.


Sexual exploitation


Over 1.8 million children are trapped in sex trades: prostitution, pornography, and other illicit activities. The sexual exploitation of women and children is the third largest illicit industry on the planet (just behind the sale of illegal arms and drugs). Even though it is lucrative for many, it is life-shattering for others.




More than one billion people in the world live on less than one dollar a day. In total, 2.7 billion struggle to survive on less than two dollars a day. In these poverty-challenged areas, the population of children is often close to 50%.


Street children


Some estimate that 100 million kids live on the street, but they’re nearly impossible to count. ACTION International Ministries which has a special emphasis and concern for the street children of the world estimate that there may be up to 160 million who try to exist on the streets with no parents, no love, no care, no food, and no compassion.

Action International


Sources: The state of the world’s children 2008, UNICEF; Daddy are we there yet?, Sylvia Foth (Mukilteo, WA: Kidzana Ministries, 2009); ‘Child labour,’ UNICEF (accessed June 20, 2007); Annual report 2007, UNICEF; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, ‘Briefing note 8: Statistics on human trafficking in South Asia’, UN Global initiative to fight human trafficking (accessed August 11, 2008); ‘Fast facts: faces of poverty’, UN millennium project 2006; Street children and homelessness, CYC online (September 2004).