Child Labor

Topics: Child Labor, International Labour Organization, Unemployment Pages: 7 (2667 words) Published: April 4, 2013
HTAP 201-002


According to United Nations statistics, there is a child labor in every seven children in the world. The International Labor organization estimates that there are 250 million children worldwide, between the ages of 5 and 14, who are now working. 95% of the child labor employed in developing countries. In recent years, the number of Canadian and U.S. companies that buy their inputs from low-cost foreign countries has been growing, and concern about the ethics associated with employing young children in factories has been increasing. Therefore, our government should develop regulations governing the use of child labor in foreign countries. In this essay, the child labor problem will be defined in four parts: causes of child labor, child labor use in reality, the consequences of using child labor worldwide, and the possible strategies which may solve the related problems. Causes of Child Labor

Child labor is work that harms children or keeps them from attending school. Around the world, Growing gaps between rich and poor in recent decades have forced millions of young children out of school and into work. Underage children work at all sorts of jobs around the world, usually because they and their families are extremely poor. Large numbers of children work in commercial agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, mining, and domestic service. Some children work in illicit activities like the drug trade and prostitution or other traumatic activities such as serving as soldiers. What are the causes of child labor? First, Poverty and unemployment levels are high. Poor children and their families may rely upon child labor in order to improve their chances of attaining basic necessities. More than one-fourth of the world's people live in extreme poverty, according to 2005 U.N. statistics. The intensified poverty in parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America causes many children there to become child laborers. Second, Access to compulsory, free education is limited. In 2006, approximately 75 million children were not in school, limiting future opportunities for the children and their communities. A 2009 report by the United Nations estimated that achieving universal education for the world's children would cost $10-30 billion -- about 0.7% - 2.0% of the annual cost of global military spending. Third, existing laws or codes of conduct are often violated. Even when laws or codes of conduct exist, they are often violated. For example, the manufacture and export of products often involves multiple layers of production and outsourcing, which can make it difficult to monitor who is performing labor at each step of the process. Extensive subcontracting can intentionally or unintentionally hide the use of child labor. Last but not least, Laws and enforcement are often inadequate. Child labor laws around the world are often not enforced or include exemptions that allow for child labor to persist in certain sectors, such as agriculture or domestic work. Even in countries where strong child labor laws exist, labor departments and labor inspection offices are often under-funded and under-staffed, or courts may fail to enforce the laws. Similarly, many state governments allocate few resources to enforcing child labor laws.

Child Labor Use in Reality
Child labor is most concentrated in Asia and Africa, which together account for more than 90 percent of total employment. Though there are more child workers in Asia than anywhere else, a higher percentage of African children participate in the work force. Asia is led by India, which has 44 million child laborers, giving it the largest child work force in the world. In Pakistan, 10 percent of all workers are between the ages of 10 and 14 years. Nigeria has 12 million child workers. Child labor is also common in South America, there are 7 million children working in Brazil....

References: Child Labor in Pakistan, Jonathan Silvers, the Atlantic Monthly, February 1996.
Child Labor: The Situation,
Child Labor: Issues, Causes and Interventions, Faraaz Siddiqi,
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