As many as 86,000 children work in mines in southwestern Madagascar, according to an International Labor Organization (ILO) official.
The ILO representative to Madagascar, Ntsay Christian, on Thursday reported that 86,000 children out of 438,000, or 19.63 percent of children in the southwestern region are economically actives.
Christian said some of them help their parents in sapphires or gold careers.
The fact prompted the ILO to implement a project to tackle child labor through education from Sept. 2012 to May 2013 in the southwestern region of the Indian Ocean island country, the official said.
The ILO official added that the project allowed 830 children ages six to 15 to go to school, 500 children to resume school learning and 80 to have vocational training.
The latest data published by the ILO bureau showed that 28 percent of children in Madagascar ranging from five years old to 17 are working. They are engaged in household work, mining, carriage, prostitution, farming and restaurant service.
According to the law in Madagascar, anyone who employs children will be punished by a fine of 1 million to 3 million ariary (500 to 1,500 U. S. dollars) and by an imprisonment of one to three years.