Browse Primary Sources
Primary sources from world and global history, including images, objects, texts, and digitally-born materials – annotations by scholars contextualize sources.
Thumbnail of chart of world child labour

Child Labor Statistics by World Region

The chart shows summative data for several world regions and types of countries on the subject of child labor. The figures refer to the percentage of children 5-14 years of age involved in child labor, meaning as a percentage of the total population of children in a country or region.

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Child Labor Statistics by Gender and Sector

The chart shows the employment sectors for male and female child laborers from age cohorts 5-14 and 15-17. The information is drawn from national child labor surveys in sixteen sample countries. It is based on nationally representative household surveys conducted between 1999 and 2007. The data comes from a study IPEC Statistical Information and Monitoring Programme on Child Labour (SIMPOC).

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Thumbnail of chart

Child Labor in Domestic Service by Gender

The chart shows the proportion of male and female child laborers between the ages of 5 and 14 who are engaged in domestic work for third-party households. As the note on the chart indicates, only those countries in the data sample of 16 nations where domestic work could be distinguished from other kinds of work are featured in this chart.

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Thumbnail of Yoruba cloth

Yoruba Handwoven Baby Wrapper, Nigeria

Handwoven by a woman in Nigeria, this traditional Yoruba cloth that is tied around the mother’s waist is used as a baby carrier. The baby sits snugly against her mother’s back; her legs wrap around her mother’s waist. The mother’s hands remain free to work or carry other things. The Yoruba wrapper measures 72 inches (183 cm) long and 16 inches (41 cm) wide.

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Thumbnail of a boy playing with a toy truck

Recycled Wire Toy Truck, Uganda

The photograph shows a boy "driving" an ingeniously simple but functional toy truck made of wire, wood, and what are likely plastic bottlecap wheels. Purchased, often imported toys are very expensive and homemade toys are common in many poorer countries. A father or other relative may compensate for this by making a simple toy out of old cans and wire.

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Thumbnail photograph of girl from Burkina Faso

Girl with Mossi Doll, Burkina Faso

This girl is from a village in the Mossi country of Burkina Faso (a landlocked country in West Africa). The doll she is holding is a traditional wooden figurine made from one piece of wood standing on a broader base.

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Moonbeam Youth Training Center, Kenya

The video shows The Moonbeam Youth Training Centre in Mavoko, Nairobi. The Centre is a project of UN-HABITAT built with support from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuk. The purpose of the center is to improve housing in urban slums by training young people in low cost, alternative construction technologies.

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Thumbnail of Dan Passport Mask

Dan Passport Masks

This small, mask ( 9.5 cm high and 5 cm wide) carved from wood is called a "passport" mask because it was worn on the body, kept in a leather pouch, or sewn onto a piece of cloth to represent group or family affiliation. Passport masks are used by the Dan people, a group of several hundred thousand people in the western part of the Côte d’Ivoire and into Liberia.

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Thumbnail image of Los tres mulatos de Esmeraldas

Los tres mulatos de Esmeraldas

This is a painting entitled “The Mulatto Gentlemen of Esmeraldas” from Spanish America. The painting was made in 1599 by a relatively well-known indigenous painter who was working in Quito at the time, a man named Andrés Sánchez Gallque.

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Thumbnail image of Codex Mendoza

Codex Mendoza

This is a map from the Codex Mendoza (circa 1543) that represents the founding of Tenochtitlan, the large imperial capital of the Aztecs. It offers an important window into visual culture and social, religious, and political life in the early era of Spanish colonization.

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