A new survey revealed that at least 10 percent of the world's children are in forced labor and 40 percent of countries are not doing enough to protect the children, according to the Guardian.

The survey by the U.S. Department of Labor showed that in the 140 countries, at least 168 million children are forced to work.

The majority of countries which have made significant efforts to reduce child labor are in South America and Africa. Countries making moderate efforts include eastern Europe, some Asian countries and Central America.

"Children working in hazardous or exploitative conditions is a problem that requires urgent action by all parties, including governments and nongovernmental actors alike," Egan Reich, a spokesman for the department, told the Guardian.

Some of the more serious issues include child labor for military purpose in sub-Saharan Africa -- such as South Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Other countries have children who are used for labor in agricultural work, carpet weaving, stone quarrying, domestic work and scavenging on waste sites, as well as drug trafficking or commercial exploitation.

Stopping the practice will be based on increased access to education as well as a push for legal protections -- both of which are lacking now.

In sub-Saharan Africa, at least 59 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 are forced to work.

Some of the countries which have taken the most significant steps toward eradicating the problem include Brazil, Albania, Chile, Tunisia and the Ivory Coast.

Reich said that it was the first time such a high level of advancement had been seen to address the issue.

It is only in the country's best interest for growth in the future to increase support for education.

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez told AP, "We are seeing more countries take action to address the issue, but the world can and must do more to accelerate these efforts. When children are learning rather than working, families flourish, economies grow and nations prosper."