Global Issue-Rough Draft
1 November 2013
Child labor is a violation of fundamental human rights and has been shown to hinder children’s development, potentially leading to lifelong physical or psychological damage. Child labor refers to work that is harmful to children’s physical and mental development and includes work that interferes with their schooling. Children are forced to work against their will for little to no payment; they often are beaten and punished.
The concept of child labor was first recognized in the early 1800s in Europe and North America. Children assisted their parents by helping with the jobs around the farm. This line of work ceases to exist once the “factories and cotton mills were built. Children workers shaped a new form of work. Kids were preferred more than adults because of their low pay, cooperation, and gullibility” (History & Background). In the article, Child Labor in United States, Robert Whaples states, “In 1820 children age 15 and under made up 23 percent of the manufacturing labor forces of industrializing northeast [in America]. They [kids] were especially common in textiles, constituting 50 percent of the work force in cotton mills with 16 or more employees, as well as 41 percent of workers in wood mills and 24 percent in paper mills.” In 19th Century the children of the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand were commonly used as cheap labor in mills, factories, mines, workshops and wealthy homes.
The UK created the Factory Act 1883, the Mine Act 1842 and another Factory Act 1867. “These acts regulated working hours, protected young children and improved working conditions. Mandatory education introduced by the Education Act in 1870, further limited child exploitation” (Background Information on Child Labour and ILO). Similar laws were passed in most States, New Zealand, in the Canadian and Australian colonies.
As a result, the cheaper cost and extended hours were profitable. Children formed a future through this line of work. A story of a teenage boy earning a living, in Looking at the Positive Side of Child Labor, “Victor Chipani, now, at 15, he does the job from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, earning less than a dollar an hour. His meager wage helps feed his eight siblings and covers his supplies for night school. But the small-framed teenager, hopes to attend college and even medical school” (Friedman-Rudovsky). Child labor is also scene as a profitable form of payment for children who are in need.
In 20th Century, a growing awareness worldwide led the International Labour Organization (ILO – an agency of the United Nations) developed standards for the protection of children. This introduced minimum working ages, almost all countries now have laws, which set a minimum age for working. However these laws are not always enforced and the exploitation of millions of children continues.
Although child labor is often associated with negative portrayals of factories, farming, and criminal activity, some children seek employment at early ages to support families with no income. The pay may be little but enough for the necessities. Many abuse a child’s need for money and force them through threat and violence if the task is in incomplete.
Alto, Jean Friedman-Rudovsky / El. "In Latin America, Looking at the Positive Side of Child Labor." Time. Time Inc., 16 Nov. 2011. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
Background Information on Child Labour and ILO." Background Information on Child Labour and ILO. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2014.
"History & Background « ECLT Foundation." ECLT Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
Whaples, Robert. "Child Labor in the United States." EHnet. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.