The murderous clutches of Child Labor on our Society

in #blog3 months ago
Child labour means any working child who is under the age specified by law. It is harmful for child’s physical, mental, social, emotional and educational development. In broader terms, any child who is employed in work to feed himself and his family is subjected to “child labor”.

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According to rules of ILO Convention 138(C.138), it is mandatory for all countries to set a minimum age for employment. This specified age for employment should not be below the age for finishing necessary schooling that is not below age of 15. However, the developing countries are allowed to set the minimum age at 14 years according to their socio-economic conditions. The child who is working part time (3-4 hours) to learn and earn for self and parents after school is not considered ‘child labor’.

All countries of the world except USA and Somalia, signed the convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1990. However, this doesn’t establish the practice of child labor as legally punishable.

All types of employment with others and self-employment come under sponsoring child labor. Many children have been seen wandering in the streets as street sellers, rag pickers, child prostitutes and beggars. These children are mostly without natural guardians and badly exploited by underground gangsters. Mostly these children are children of illegal migrants. They are victims of wars, riots or just due to homelessness and poverty. In poor countries, the children are often helping hands for their parents and are employed in different commercial organizations, factories or household with the consent of their parents. The most terrible form of child labor is prostitution and child pornography. Even some parents sell their children for money.

In developing countries, it is considered wrong if a child below a certain age is employed to work. Even the employer is not allowed to hire a child below certain age. This minimum age varies from country to country. In United States, the child labor laws set the minimum age at 16.According to the World Bank, the frequency of child labor decreased from 25% to 10% between 1960 and 2003.

History of Child Labor

During the period of Industrial Revolution, children having age 04 were employed as laborers in production factories which had fatal working conditions. Now it is considered as human right violation by wealthy countries, while some poor countries may allow child labor. Young children were tremendously employed in factories and mines in the Victorian era during Queen Victoria's reign. The poor children worked long hours in dangerous jobs at low wages. Charles Dickens worked at the age of 12 in a blacking factory with his family.

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The children were also employed in coal mines which were too narrow and low height. They started working in coal mines at age of five and died at age of 25. They also worked as chimney sweepers, crossing sweepers, shoe blacks and selling flowers and matches. In the mid-18th Century, there were over 120,000 domestic servants in London working 80 hours a week.

In 1802 and 1819, factory Acts were passed to regulate the working hours in factories and mills to 12 hours per day, but later these acts became ineffective. A large number of children also worked as prostitutes. By 1900, there were around 1.7 million laborers working in American Industry under the age of 15. This number climbed to 2 million in 1910.

Today, child labor is very complicated issue and it is affecting the human society all over the world. It is terrible that children are not getting basic education and leisure time which is very important for their growing age. Instead, they are working into laborious work which is meant for people beyond their age.

According to ILO and other agencies statistics, around 73 million children between 10 to 14 years are employed in economic activities worldwide. Child labor is most widespread in Asia with around 44.6 million children doing commercial work and in Africa around 23 million children and in Latin America, this number is 9.8 million.

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The number of children employed in child labor between 10 and 14 years of age are 14.4% in India, 30.1% in Bangladesh, 11.6% in China, 17.7% in Pakistan, 24% in Turkey, 11.2% in Egypt, 41.3% in Kenya, 25.8% in Nigeria, 31.4% in Senegal, 4.5% in Argentina, 16.1% in Brazil, 6.7% in Mexico, 6.7% in Italy and 1.8% in Portugal. These figures are only part of the picture. No reliable information is available for the children below age 10, although they are in significant amount. If we take into account the children below age 10 and also the young girls working in domestic labor, this number will emerge to hundreds of million.

Indeed the future of a society is in the well-being of its children. This fact is beautifully expressed by Wordsworth in his famous quote, “Child is father of the man.” It is necessary for a healthy nation to protect its children from premature labor work which is dangerous for their health.

Causes of Child Labor

The main causes of child labor are as below:

  1. Many Asian and African countries are overpopulated. Due to limited resources, children are forced to do various form of work.

  2. The parents who are illiterate, they don’t realize the importance of education for their children. Instead they want their children to earn from early age.

  3. Poverty is no doubt a main cause of the child labor. The families who are on are below poverty line are forced to send their children into work to increase their income. So first step is to eliminate the poverty.

  4. Adult people find it difficult to get jobs. Instead, the industrialists find it easy to employ the children because they get less pay.

  5. The orphan children have no one to support them. So they are forced to work for their living.

Harmful Effects of Child Labor

There are many harmful effects of child labor. Some of them include:

  1. Children are often paid much less for work than adults; they receive only quarter of full wages. So increased use of child labor reduces the wages of the adult.

  2. Some children are expected to work for excessive hours up to 12 – 16 hours per day.

  3. Many children are unable to go for school and therefore withdraw from school because of the work they are doing.

  4. Children also suffer from physical harm and violence in the workplace from adult staff.

  5. Children often work in unregulated environment where there are little safety practices, so there is increased risk of accidents.

  6. Children also suffer from health issues due to bad hygienic practices.

  7. Girls are more vulnerable to sexual abuse which leads to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

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Indeed the future of a society is in the well-being of its children. This fact is beautifully expressed by Wordsworth in his famous quote, “Child is father of the man.” It is necessary for a healthy nation to protect its children from premature labor work which is dangerous for their health.

Thank you for reading! Stay Safe!👋😌



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