Child labour in Asia-Pacific region "alarming" - ILO

Forty-eight million children in the Asia Pacific region are involved in hazardous child labour - out of 115 million globally - according to a 10 June report by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

"This is an alarmingly high number," Simrin Singh, ILO's senior specialist on child labour for East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific, told IRIN.

Most are in agriculture, including fishing. Children's bodies absorb up to two times more toxic chemicals, such as pesticides, than adults with the same exposure, and are more likely to be injured or die due to workplace hazards, the report said.

"The hidden nature of child labour in the informal economy means labour inspectors can't always reach it," Singh said, describing poverty as the primary "push factor".