Child labour has reached disturbing levels in countries facing poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Speaking at Wesselsbron in the Free State, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has called on mothers to ensure that they protect their children from exploitation.

In 2017, the SABC blew the lid on an unregistered labour broker operating in Wesselsbron. The broker brought under-aged children from the North West to work in the Free State.

About 30 children were rescued from the farms in the area and sent back home.

Junior Police Commissioner Mohlomi Mphosi says child labour prevents children from getting education.

Oliphant says exploitation of young children mostly happens in the domestic and agricultural sectors. She says stricter cross-border controls should be in place as well as greater cooperation between provinces.

Free State Agriculture has condemned child labour practices.

Chief Executive Officer of Free State Agriculture Gerhard Kriel says as organised agriculture they are totally opposed to child exploitation.

Free State Agriculture has distanced itself from the farmer who operated as an unregistered labour broker.

His case is still before the courts.