Cheap labor. Obedient soldier. Child bride. Throughout history, children have been subjected to the worst forms of exploitation and abuse.
After World War II, the ground-breaking Universal Declaration of Human Rights declared that children needed "special care and protection."
As a result, in 1989 the United Nations adopted a revolutionary treaty that gave rights to all children everywhere.
It's called The Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is the most ratified treaty in the world.
SOUNDBITE (English) Joseph Garba, President of the UN General Assembly: "The Convention calls on all of us to help the children of the world. We all have to change the promises of the convention into reality in every part of the globe."
By signing the treaty, nations promise to set basic standards in health care, education, protection, and social services.
They also grant children the right to play, to express themselves and to have a say in decisions that affect them.
By putting children onto the global agenda, the convention has radically improved the ways we can help them.
Numerous countries have written children's rights into their constitutions.
SOUNDBITE (English) Dan Toole, Director, South Asia Regional Office, UNICEF: "Nepal last year decided to remove its monarchy. Because of this change in government, they're creating a new constitution. That creates an amazing opportunity for UNICEF, to change the constitution in a way that's child-friendly, in a way that's child-supportive. And the CRC is the basis on which we do that."
It has changed the lives of millions of children.
SOUNDBITE (English) Elhadj As Sy, Director, Eastern and Southern Africa Region, UNICEF: "Birth registration, which has been extremely low in a number of countries, at a rate of about 10%, jumping up to 80."
SOUNDBITE (English) Steven Allen, Director, Central and Eastern Europe and CIS States Region, UNICEF: "In Romania, particularly after the drastic change of the regime there was a need for a lot of work to be done on the protection of children, particularly children that had been in orphanages, who'd been infected by HIV."
SOUNDBITE (English) Sigrid Kaag, Director, Middle East and North Africa Region, UNICEF: "In Sudan where we've worked very hard with all partner to establish a legal framework for the protection of children."
SOUNDBITE (English) Dan Toole, Director, South Asia Regional Office, UNICEF: "India has just agreed to compulsory, free universal education for all children."
The Convention also brought hidden subjects like sexual exploitation and trafficking out into the open