Child labour generally implies the situation whereby children below the working age are force by circumstances to participate in the processes of production, for instance in manufacturing industries household and also in agricultural fields. This process in one way or the other exploits and harms the children through blocking their education acquisition, morally, physically and also mentally.
From a point of research, although not all work is bad, it has been pointed out that some types of work are exploitative. For instance, when a child delivers a newspaper before going to school, this is work which actually benefits the child on learning how to work, gaining responsibility and at the same time earning money. The big question arises when the child is not paid where the issue of exploitation comes in (Cigno 2005).
According to Unicef’s report in 1997 on the state of world’s child comments, it states how children’s work should be seen as happening along the continuum with exploitative and destructive work at the end beneficial work promotion or enhancement of children’s development ensuring no interference with their recreation activities, learning and also rest at the other end. From the UNICEF’s report, between the two ends poles are vast fields
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In the year 2000, the international labour organization estimated around 246 million child workers aged between 5 years and 17 years who were involved in child labour. Out of 246 million, 171 million child labourers were involved in work which was hazardous naturally to their physical and mental health, safety bonded labour trafficking in children and commercial sexual exploitation and also use of children in armed conflicts (Bagley 1990). Globally, the statistics show how child labour differs in different countries. For instance, in Asia, 61% of the residents are children whereby 22% are involved in the workforce.
In Africa, 32% of the residents are children while in Latin America, they contribute to 7% of the population whereby 17% of the workforce constitute of child labour. The proportion of child labour differs a lot among countries and even in the regions within one country. According to UNICEF’s report in 1997, it shows that some cases like in Africa, one child in every three children is involved in child labour. With Latin America, one child in every five children is involved in child labour. With the two countries, a very small proportion of child workers are involved in formal sectors while the majority of work is in their families, in their homes and fields (Harrison 1960).
Much of child labourers are absorbed in certain industries of manufacturing in some specific countries. Such includes auto repairs industries, making of textiles and foot wear, bricks and cement manufacturing while others are engaged in sectors like caring for animals, planting and harvesting of food and other farm related jobs. According to International Labour Organization reports, a bigger number of child labourers are absorbed in agricultural sectors because the means of production requires little experience. The analysis shows that a large number of boys work outside their homes although more girls work in some sectors like domestic maids which is very risky due to physical or sexual abuse by their employers (Lamb 1982).
The UNICEF report shows that, less than 5% of the child labourers make export products to other nations due to lack of experience. Globally, there has been much concern in trying to stop and prevent the issue of child labour. To some extend, certain countries and industries involved have been threatened by the concerned organizations to have total ban and boycott of their products from trading in international markets. Such severe steps have been implemented due to threats and dangers involved with the child labour.
For instance, most of the children working in dangerous and hazardous jobs are endangered from injuries and also death (Greenfield 1994).The big question here arises as, if the situation goes beyond compensation, how will today’s generation become in future? Between now and the twenty years to come, it has been noted that, the vast majority of new labourers, new consumers and citizens whose needs and skills will make the economy of world and society will orient from the developing countries.
Over the same 20 years period, some 732 million individuals will join the workforce who will be more than the number employed in today’s advanced nations in 2000. Around 90% of the new workers will orient from the developing countries according to Population Act International Research. Then if so, how many people will have to work while at early age, hampering their education or destroying their health? It is evident that, in most developed countries, the practice of child labour has been completely prevented.
This has been achieved through implementation of some policies which include; transformation of public attitudes towards the children which elevated the significance of education in the society, provision and widespread of affordable relevant and required education, improvement of economic development which raised the family incomes as well as the living standards. They also enforced laws of anti-child labour which incorporated mandatory education rules (Poirier 1985).
The UNICEF’s report outlined some of the main myths associated with child labour. It had been perceived that, the problem of child labour is only experienced in developing countries which are quite contradicting because child labour has even been noted in the industrialized nations with hazardous and dangerous processes. For instance, in United States, agricultural firms employ many children whereby a large proportion of them are from immigrant and others from ethnic minority families.
This is evident by the survey conducted in 1990 from Mexican America where children worked in the farms of New York showing majority of those who worked in the fields still being wet with sprays of pesticide and around a third who had sprayed themselves. Another myth states that it is only after country eradicates poverty when the child labour will disappear but contrary to that, hazardous and dangerous labour should be prevented and eliminated even by the poor countries through administration of right measures. Another myth which encouraged child labour indicated that, majority of child labourers is employed in sweatshops to manufacture products for export.
This is not the case because in Pakistan, soccer balls manufactured by children to be used by children in developed and industrialized countries provides a compelling symbol while it is clear from the Unicef’s report that less than 5% of the children work in export processing zones. Also it analyzes that, a large number of child labourers are found into be working in informal sectors whereby they are being hidden in houses far away from reach of labour inspectors officials, selling products on the streets and working in agricultural farms away from the media security officers.
It also puts in place a myth that the way in making hard way to curb child labour through government and consumers to pressurize through putting sanctions, total ban and boycotting products from such affected zones. In actual sense these measures of international commitment in pressurization are very important but when perceived on the other side, it can only have effect to the export sectors because this field relatively exploits a small percentage of children i.e. around 5%. These measures also seem to be inefficient instruments which have long term results that can have harm rather than helping the children involved (Kadushin 1980).
Today, many reasons have been attributed to cause of child labour. Some includes; poverty which has been considered as the major factor causing children to engage at inappropriate jobs at early ages. Poverty has led to lack of better schools and day care whereby since the child has no alternative, he or she decides to be employed while at early age so as to get a survival strategy. Lack of health care services among other crucial personal services have also led to child labour whereby the children decide to go to wherever they can meet good services and as a result , they find themselves engaging in child labour.
Abuses of the child is another factor which contributes to child labour in that, since they are not advanced mentally, when they encounter any unpleasing response from either their parents or elders in the family, they can decide to quite from home and be employed in far places child labourers. Also due to different cultural grounds, some families have traditions and expectations which may lead to child labour, like the communities which does not support female education; such girls maybe forced to quite the family and seek employed opportunities due to denial of education. At the same time, some employers have uncaring attitudes towards children whereby they offer them jobs clearly knowing that they are exploiting them (Minkin 1991).
Some solutions have been put in place to child labour. First children should be educated so that they get skills that will assist them to earn living. Also increased incomes in families can retain the children at home doing something constructive rather than disappearing due to poverty. Provision of social services also assists children to learn survival strategies like in times of calamities at home, for instance disease crises and also shelter problems. Family control strategies of fertility should also be addressed whereby parents should have a minimum number which they can be able to rear effectively (Pelling 1954).
In conclusion, child labour has more harm and disadvantages to the children and the entire society than its advantages whereby I strongly condemn child labour. I am then against child labour.
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