Ecologists say the shortage of wild animals means that in many countries more people must search for food. Children are often used for cheap workers, especially in the fishing industry.
According to a study in the journal, the harvesting of creatures from the sea and the land is worth $400bn annually and supports the livelihoods of 15% of the world's population.
A professor from the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study points out a direct link between the scarcity of wildlife, the labor demands of harvests and the dramatic increase in child slavery. He points out that communities rely on these wildlife resources can't afford to hire more workers. Instead they find cheap labor which has led to purchasing children as slaves.
In Africa, people who once found their food in the neighboring forests, now travel for days to find prey. Hunters often use children to extract wildlife from areas that would be too costly to harvest.
I think back to my own childhood in Australia. At the end of WW2 times were hard, money was scarce, but I was allowed to roam free and explore my imagination. How would a child grow and learn without freedom? I hate to think what sort of a future they face.
Culturally set boundaries which have changed throughout history define childhood. Only 100 years ago, children worked in underground mines searching for coal in England. The acceptable age to work varies in different nations, but child slavery is unacceptable at any age. Millions of children around the world are forced into lives of depravity and despair. See horrifying ways children are used as slaves right now. It will turn your stomach.
I love Assam tea, but limit myself to three cups a day. In Victorian times, the housekeeper would carry around a key to unlock her precious wooden box containing tea leaves. Nowadays, cardboard boxes of teabags are sold at a really cheap price. The one I buy is marked Certified Rainforest Alliance. The seal assures consumers that the product they are purchasing has been grown and harvested using environmentally and socially responsible practices. I couldn't find any details about the personnel. It's concerning that the reduction in overall price might be due to child labor.
I could weep for the children, and for all the adults who have, or are, enduring slavery. An ordinary person can't do anything about world problems or overpopulation. What we can do is to check what we buy as far as we are able.