Instead of aiming at abolishing child labor, should policy makers look for alternative approaches. Parents feel compelled to send their children to work as a means of survival.
Although not immediately apparent, a simple ban on child labor does not prove effective in ridding of it. Therefore, integrative efforts should be made in conjunction with eliminating child labor. Instead of waiting for the natural economic growth to slowly remove child labor, the government and policy makers may intervene by offering incentives. Integrative policies include improved schooling, trade union involvement, school meals, and income subsidies. To find alternative means of addressing child labor where it prevails on a larger scale after establishing it as the perpetrator of such maladies as reduced adult wages, adult unemployment, and negative impact on human capital.
Child Labor is a prevalent problem throughout the world especially in developing countries. Children work for a variety of reasons, the most important being poverty and the induced pressure upon them to escape from this plight. Though children are not well paid, they still serve as major contributors to family income in developing countries.
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Schooling problems also contribute to child labor, whether it be the inaccessibility of schools or the lack of quality education which spurs parents to enter their children in more profitable pursuits. Traditional factors such as rigid cultural and social roles in certain countries further limit educational attainment and increase child labor.
Denying the right of education and the possibility to achieve complete physical and psychological development, child labor serves as a source of exploitation and abuse.
In my definition of child labor throughout this paper, a child qualifies as a laborer if the child performs economic activity on a regular basis that provides output for the market.
Since numbers are often underreported, determining the actual prevalence of child labor exhibits problems. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated in 1995 that around 250 million children between the ages of five and fourteen years old work for a salary or wage in the world.1 120 million of those counted worked full time. Certain geographical areas demonstrate higher child participation rates than others. The above figure relates only to full-time child labor, estimates would rise if part-time child labor were included.
For instance in 1990, Europe shows a .10% rate, Latin America and Caribbean with 11.23%, Asia follows with a 15.19% rate and Africa with the highest rate of 27.87%.2 Many of these children work in dangerous occupations, such as agriculture or factories. Over 70% of children work in agriculture, hunting, forestry, and fishing. The second highest sector in terms of the percentage of child workers is manufacturing with 8.3%. Wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotels have the same percentage as manufacturing.
However, the informal economy conceals many unaccounted child laborers. From small businesses to micro-enterprises, unsafe working conditions, low productivity, minimal returns to investment and low to no wages all characterize informal work.
The ILO reports of the informal economy as: The expanding and increasingly diverse group of workers and enterprises in both the rural and urban areas operating informally,they share one important characteristic: they are not recognized or protected under the legal and regulatory frameworks. Informal workers and entrepreneurs are characterized by a high degree of vulnerability.
This type of economy accounts for the most child laborers, especially due to its ability to spillover into other economic sectors. For instance, an organized commercial agricultural estate may form an agreement for some production by a smaller family farm or a multinational corporation may contract materials from small workshops or families who work at home. Overall, child labor does not help alleviate poverty in developing countries but actually helps perpetuate it.
As we have seen a factor causing child labor is low wages and low adult wages serve as a factor in perpetuating poverty. Before exploring the causal link of child labor and adult wage reduction, one must first explore the reasons for children in the labor market instead of adults. On the demand side, employers assert that children possess productivity traits that adults lack, such as nimble fingers. On the supply side, the parent may believe that due to lack of adult jobs or low adult wages in the household, child labor serves as the only option.
Why do employers demand child labor? The International Labour Organization reports, Employers may prefer children because they are paid less than adults on a daily rate (but not piece-work) basis, because of beliefs about their suitability for certain jobs, and because more work can be extracted from them owing to their greater docility and lack of awareness of, and ability to claim, their rights.
Due to the ready supply and increasing demand of child labor, adults experience the detrimental effects on their wages. Since adults and children are substitutes in the labor market, child labor, when used, increases the supply of labor. As a result, this places pressure on the wages. As the supply of labor increases due to parents sending their children to work in order to help make ends meet, it reduces the wages of adults already employed.
The adult unemployment rate and child labor have a causal link in that a rise in child labor increases the incidence of adult unemployment.5 It is but fair to assume that in the same measure as females replaced men as factory workers, so child labor, if not restricted, will crowd a proportionate number of adults out of employment.
The general conception holds that more children equate more working hands. Thus, more working children generate greater income for the family. Contrarily, studies on unemployment show that the number of unemployed adults in India nearly equals the number of child laborers there.
Child labor poses long run consequences that actually help perpetuate poverty by diminishing human capital. Economists refer to this negative effect as the child labor trap.
An increase in child labor causes a decline in human capital on the working children.
Hence, an inverse relation exists between child labor and a child’s future productivity in life.
Children who work long days possess little time for education and as a result, exhibit low productivity as an adult. Investing in human capital contains growing importance for a country’s economic growth. When parents cannot invest in their child’s education, it then affects the next generation.
At the very least, child labor for those under 14 years of age disrupts their education or even inhibits education altogether.
Children, who begin working at a younger age, achieve a lower level of education, which impacts the child’s future income generation capabilities and welfare.
Since the early 19th and late 20th centuries, the U.S. has progressed toward eliminating child labor. The extent to which a society protects children’s rights measures the society’s progression. As people became more aware of children’s needs, they placed more emphasis on education. To a certain extent, child labor in the U.S. still exists in sectors of the economy, mainly among immigrants. In comparison to child labor in the late 1800s to early 1900s the prevalence of child labor and its conditions have improved drastically. The U.S. case study proves that child labor laws alone do not solve the problem; integrative efforts such as education, stipends, and trade unions must also be used.
School represents the most important means of drawing children away from the labor market. Studies have correlated low enrollment with increased rates of child employment. School provides children with guidance and the opportunity to understand their role in society. Therefore, many insist on immediately abolishing child labor in developing countries and requiring children to go to school.9 Yet this approach is unfeasible for a number of reasons. First, children will not attend these schools without an economic change in their condition.
Schools must make it worthwhile for children to attend in order to make up for lost earnings. One necessary provision is that these schools be free. Another possibility is that these schools serve food supplements. Parents might view this nutrition as valuable and therefore keep their children in school. The quality of education can also be improved so that schooling is considered an important factor in the future success of a child.
Only after the introduction of such substitutes will school attendance increase.
Policy must also be phased in relation to the level of development and the extent of child labor currently being used in an economy. Just as current trade agreements allow for differential and preferential treatment for developing countries, so should labor standards clauses. Standards should be seen as escalator — as development increases so do the labour standards required in a particular economy. There are basic minimum standards which are applicable to all economies.
Child Labor Essay Example:The leg Child Labor a Necessary Evil isolation includes a lot of regulations concerning labor. It is common knowledge that every person has the right to work, and there is a saying that “Labor made a human out of a monkey”. But nevertheless labor takes a big part of an individual’s health and time. The question is posed in the following way: is it moral and humane to allow child labor?
On one hand, children should devote most time to education. Labor is distracting them and weakening the desire to study; it may also negatively affect the young growing organism and worsen its future development. On the other hand, if a child is not taught to work and try “grown-up” life, he may never adjust to it. There can be set several cases when children from well-to-do families were guarded from labor, they only did the easiest job and went on studying. None of the people placed in such situation was learnt to become independent, they just remained in charge of their parents and experienced difficulties in becoming full members of the society. So, as any controversial subject, the idea of child labor has both positive and negative sides.
There are some cases when child labor is always inadmissible. In my opinion, the main of them are: physically hard labor of children under 12 etc.; any cases when children are forced to work more time than it is indicated by laws; any cases of age discrimination concerning the amount of salary, the future (and possibly current) carrier growth, and cases of any other discrimination by age. It is evident that totally inadmissible are the cases when children are exploited and in any way forced to work. In my opinion, these cases should get very strong punishment, otherwise the tendency for using child labor and for paying them a pittance will hardly ever be stopped.
I think, that there should be worked out clear laws and regulations concerning child labor which have to regulate the duration of working hours per week or per month, minimal payment, the description of basic working conditions for a child (depending on the type of work the child has to do), perhaps the regulations of special break-time, including necessary nutrition and movement etc. The state and its law system are the main guarantee of the observance of children’s rights within the system. Current world and international situation in the sphere of child labor is slowly improving but there still are a lot of cases where children’s rights are impaired.
Partly basing on these facts there exists a common opinion that child labor is necessary evil. Yet in addition to the cases where children without labor didn’t receive an important part of surviving skills there can be set a lot of examples when child labor played a positive role. It is true for poor families, for families with one or more disabled members and in general families with hard financial situation. In this case working gives a child first of all social recognition, the possibility to help his or her family, the improvement of the contemporaries opinion and therefore relations with other children and in general the chance to get on own feet. In this case child labor plays positive role in physical and mental development of a child.
Even for children from families with sufficient financial situation finding own job can be the first step into adult life for a child. It depends on the state and the society whether this step will be successful or not. For many people finding a job in early age can help to define their inclinations and abilities, and appears to be a good chance for determining future profession.
Another good side is that children learn how to handle money. In my opinion, wise parents will allow their child to find a job and try to work, and let him or her spend the earned money independently. Such policy of the parents helps the child to become conscientious concerning money, to understand the value of labor and education in their future life. Working can also improve material and spiritual values of a child. For many children a job in early age is the first time when they take the responsibility upon themselves, and most children become more serious and purposeful after the experience of working. All above-mentioned positive sides of child labor are true for any children, and noticeably stronger for disabled children.
For a lot of them finding a job, even the simplest one, is a chance to improve financial situation and to gain a profession suitable for their physical condition. A number of disabled children in this way broaden their circle of acquaintance and friends. It may be even possible to say that finding a job can bring sense into life of a child, especially a disabled child. In this case the society should never reject child labor as evil. So the conclusion of all the above-mentioned is the following: child labor is evil when the child’s rights are impaired, when children are exploited and treated badly.
Child labor is easy to take advantage of, and therefore the task of the society, of the state, its legislative and executive system is not to let such “utilization” happen. Under appropriate supervision child labor can be turned into the instrument of educating and upbringing the child, forming his or her personality and helping the young individual better adjust to adult life and its conditions.
Modern society is rather complicated to live in, even for adult people, not to mention children who are not accustomed to the tough concurrence, changing environment and constant stresses of the contemporary world. In case of a right approach, first experience of working and gaining own money can be a successful start in life for the child. In my opinion, state and parents should not reject such a powerful instrument of upbringing children and helping them to become full members of modern society.
Child labour refers to the employment of children at regular and sustained labour. This practice is considered exploitative by many international organizations and is illegal in many countries. Child labour was employed to varying extents through most of history, but entered public dispute with the advent of universal schooling, with changes in working conditions during the industrial revolution, and with the emergence of the concepts of workers’ and children’s rights. In many developed countries, it is considered inappropriate or exploitative if a child below a certain age works (excluding household chores, in a family shop, or school-related work).
An employer is usually not permitted to hire a child below a certain minimum age. This minimum age depends on the country and the type of work involved. States ratifying the Minimum Age Convention adopted by the International Labor Organization in 1973, have adopted minimum ages varying from 14 to 16. Child labor laws in the United States set the minimum age to work in an establishment without restrictions and without parents’ consent at age 16. The incidence of child labour in the world decreased from 25 to 10 percent between 1960 and 2003, according to the World Bank.
HistoricalDuring the Industrial Revolution, children as young as four were employed in production factories with dangerous, and often fatal, working conditions.Based on this understanding of the use of children as labourers, it is now considered by wealthy countries to be a human rights violation, and is outlawed, while some poorer countries may allow or tolerate child labour. Child labour can also be defined as the full-time employment of children who are under a minimum legal age.
The Victorian era became notorious for employing young children in factories and mines and as chimney sweeps. Child labour played an important role in the Industrial Revolution from its outset, often brought about by economic hardship, Charles Dickens for example worked at the age of 12 in a blackingfactory, with his family in debtor’s prison. The children of the poor were expected to help towards the family budget, often working long hours in dangerous jobs for low pay, earning 10-20% of an adult male’s wage. In England and Scotland in 1788, two-thirds of the workers in 143 water-powered cotton millswere described as children. In 19th-century Great Britain, one-third of poor families were without a breadwinner, as a result of death or abandonment, obliging many children to work from a young age.
In coal mines, children would crawl through tunnels too narrow and low for adults. Children also worked as errand boys, crossing sweepers, shoe blacks, or selling matches, flowers and other cheap goods. Some children undertook work asapprentices to respectable trades, such as building or as domestic servants (there were over 120,000 domestic servants in London in the mid-18th century).
Working hours were long: builders worked 64 hours a week in summer and 52 in winter, while domestic servants worked 80 hour weeks. Children as young as three were put to work. A high number of children also worked as prostitutes. Many children (and adults) worked 16 hour days. As early as 1802 and 1819 Factory Acts were passed to regulate the working hours of workhouse children in factories and cotton mills to 12 hours per day.
These acts were largely ineffective and after radical agitation, by for example the “Short Time Committees” in 1831, a Royal Commission recommended in 1833 that children aged 11–18 should work a maximum of 12 hours per day, children aged 9–11 a maximum of eight hours, and children under the age of nine were no longer permitted to work. This act however only applied to the textile industry, and further agitation led to another act in 1847 limiting both adults and children to 10 hour working days. An estimated 1.7 million children under the age of fifteen were employed in American industry by 1900. In 1910, over 2 million children in the same age group were employed in the United States. Present day
A young boy recycling garbage in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in 2006 See also: Children’s rights Child labour is still common in some parts of the world, it can be factory work, mining, prostitution, quarrying, agriculture, helping in the parents’ business, having one’s own small business (for example selling food), or doing odd jobs.
Some children work as guides for tourists, sometimes combined with bringing in business for shops and restaurants (where they may also work as waiters). Other children are forced to do tedious and repetitive jobs such as: assembling boxes, polishing shoes, stocking a store’s products, or cleaning. However, rather than in factories and sweatshops, most child labour occurs in the informal sector, “selling many things on the streets, at work in agriculture or hidden away in houses—far from the reach of official labour inspectors and from media scrutiny.”
And all the work that they did was done in all types of weather; and was also done for minimal pay. As long as there is family poverty there will be child labour. According to UNICEF, there are an estimated 250 million children aged 5 to 14 in child labour worldwide, excluding child domestic labour. The United Nations and the International Labor Organization consider child labour exploitative, with the UN stipulating, in article 32 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that: …
States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.Although globally there is an estimated 250 million children working. In the 1990s every country in the world except for Somalia and the United States became a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, or CRC. Somalia eventually signed the convention in 2002; the delay of the signing was believed to been due to Somalia not having a government.
In a recent paper, Basu and Van (1998) argue that the primary cause of child labour is parental poverty. That being so, they caution against the use of a legislative ban against child labour, and argue that should be used only when there is reason to believe that a ban on child labour will cause adult wages to rise and so compensate adequately the households of the poor children.
Child labour is still widely used today in many countries, including India and Bangladesh. CACL estimated that there are between 70 and 80 million child labourers in India. Child labour accounts for 22% of the workforce in Asia, 32% in Africa, 17% in Latin America, 1% in US, Canada, Europe and other wealthy nations. The proportion of child labourers varies a lot among countries and even regions inside those countries. PREVENTION
Concerns have often been raised over the buying public’s moral complicity in purchasing products assembled or otherwise manufactured in developing countries with child labour. However, others have raised concerns that boycotting products manufactured through child labour may force these children to turn to more dangerous or strenuous professions, such as prostitution or agriculture.
For example, a UNICEF study found that after the Child Labor Deterrence Act was introduced in the US, an estimated 50,000 children were dismissed from their garment industry jobs in Bangladesh, leaving many to resort to jobs such as “stone-crushing, street hustling, and prostitution”, jobs that are “more hazardous and exploitative than garment production”. The study suggests that boycotts are “blunt instruments with long-term consequences, that can actually harm rather than help the children involved.” According to Milton Friedman, before the Industrial Revolution virtually all children worked in agriculture. During the Industrial Revolution many of these children moved from farm work to factory work.
Over time, as real wages rose, parents became able to afford to send their children to school instead of work and as a result child labour declined, both before and after legislation. Austrian school economist Murray Rothbard said that British and American children of the pre- and post-Industrial Revolution lived and suffered in infinitely worse conditions where jobs were not available for them and went “voluntarily and gladly” to work in factories. British historian and socialist
E. P. Thompson in The Making of the English Working Class draws a qualitative distinction between child domestic workand participation in the wider (waged) labour market. Further, the usefulness of the experience of the industrial revolution in making predictions about current trends has been disputed. Social historian Hugh Cunningham, author of Children and Childhood in Western Society Since 1500, notes that: “Fifty years ago it might have been assumed that, just as child labour had declined in the developed world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, so it would also, in a trickle-down fashion, in the rest of the world.
Its failure to do that, and its re-emergence in the developed world, raise questions about its role in any economy, whether national or global.” According to Thomas DeGregori, an economics professor at the University of Houston, in an article published by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank operating in Washington D.C., “it is clear that technological and economic change are vital ingredients in getting children out of the workplace and into schools.
Then they can grow to become productive adults and live longer, healthier lives. However, in poor countries like Bangladesh, working children are essential for survival in many families, as they were in our own heritage until the late 19th century. So, while the struggle to end child labour is necessary, getting there often requires taking different routes—and, sadly, there are many political obstacles. The International Labour Organization’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), founded in 1992, aims to eliminate child labour. It operates in 88 countries and is the largest program of its kind in the world. IPEC works with international and government agencies, NGOs, the media, and children and their families to end child labour and provide children with education and assistance.
he Children’s Rights Movement is a historical and modern movement committed to the acknowledgment, expansion, and/or regression of the rights of children around the world. While the historical definition of child has varied, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child explains, “A child is any human being below the age of eighteen years, unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.” There are no definitions of other terms used to describe young people such as “adolescents”, “teenagers” or “youth” in international law.
HistoryThomas Spence’s The Rights of Infants (1796) is an early English-language assertion of the natural rights of children. In the USA, the Children’s Rights Movement was born in the 19th century with the orphan train. In the big cities, when a child’s parents died or were extremely poor, the child frequently had to go to work to support himself and/or his family.
Boys generally became factory or coal workers, and girls becameprostitutes or saloon girls, or else went to work in a sweat shop. All of these jobs paid only starvation wages. In 1852, Massachusetts required children to attend school. In 1853, Charles Brace founded the Children’s Aid Society, which worked hard to take street children in. The following year, the children were placed on a train headed for the West, where they were adopted, and often given work.
By 1929, the orphan train stopped running altogether, but its principles lived on. The National Child Labor Committee, an organization dedicated to the abolition of all child labor, was formed in the 1890s. It managed to pass one law, which was struck down by the Supreme Court two years later for violating a child’s right to contract his work. In 1924, Congress attempted to pass aconstitutional amendment that would authorize a national child labor law. This measure was blocked, and the bill was eventually dropped. It took the Great Depression to end child labor nationwide; adults had become so desperate for jobs that they would work for the same wage as children.
In 1938, PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act which, amongst other things, placed limits on many forms of child labor. Now that child labor had been effectively eradicated in parts of the world, the movement turned to other things, but it again stalled when World War II broke out and children and women began to enter the work force once more. With millions of adults at war, the children were needed to help keep the country running. In Europe, children served as couriers, intelligence collectors, and other underground resistance workers in opposition to Hitler’s regime. Present
In the early 20th century, moves began to promote the idea of children’s rights as distinct from those of adults and as requiring explicit recognition. The Polish educationalist Janusz Korczak wrote of the rights of children in his book How to Love a Child (Warsaw, 1919); a later book was entitled The Child’s Right to Respect (Warsaw, 1929). In 1917, following the Russian Revolution, the Moscow branch of the organization Proletkult produced a Declaration of Children’s Rights. However, the first effective attempt to promote children’s rights was the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, drafted by Eglantyne Jebb in 1923 and adopted by the League of Nations in 1924.
This was accepted by the United Nations on its formation and updated in 1959, and replaced with a more extensive UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. From the formation of the United Nations in the 1940s and extending to present day, the Children’s Rights Movement has become global in focus. While the situation of children in the United States has become grave, children around the world have increasingly become engaged in illegal, forced child labor, genital mutilation, military service, and sex trafficking. Several international organizations have rallied to the assistance of children.
They include Save the Children, Free the Children, and the Children’s Defense Fund. The Child Rights Information Network, or CRIN, formed in 1983, is the group of 1,600 non-governmental organizations from around the world which advocate for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Organization’s report on their countries’ progress towards implementation, as do governments that have ratified the Convention. Every 5 years reporting to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is required for governments.