A systematic review of the literature on the prevalence, theories and correlates of child labor was done with emphasis on mental health. The methodologies of these literatures are variable in their strength and weakness. Some surveys are intensive and informative. Exploitation of young childrens labor is extensive in developing countries such as Ethiopia, where an estimated every 4th under 15 year old is a child laborer. This review further highlights why children end up in the job market, and what they wish to do in the future. Relevant recommendations to policy makers on appropriate and streamlined education, as well as the need for further longitudinal and intervention oriented research, capacity building for parents and further advice is given.