Committee: Committee: UNICEF
Topic: Child Labor
Position Papers are due January 9th to qualify for a research award
All Position Papers due by January 13th at 11:59pm
Position Papers are due to the committee email
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Background of Topic
Child labor refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful. Although child labor was not new to the world, it is believed that during 1780 and 1840, the era of the Industrial Revolution, there was a massive increase in child exploitation. This is because many companies were in demand for cheap employees. Child labor is a huge issue mainly in under-developed countries. Although it has been slowly declining over the past couple of years, it is still performed. There are many forms of child labor worldwide. Children are engaged in agricultural labor, in mining, in manufacturing, in domestic service, types of construction, scavenging and begging on the streets. Others are trapped in forms of slavery in armed conflicts, forced labor and debt bondage (to pay off debts incurred by parents and grandparents) as well as in commercial sexual exploitation and illicit activities, such as drug trafficking and organized begging and in many other forms of labor. Because of the extremely dangerous situations child labor often presents, many people call for the abolishing of child labor.
United Nations Involvement
The United Nations is hugely involved with child labor by being the founders of UNICEF. The United Nation got involved with child labor by starting UNICEF, a group helping other children recognize their own rights, in 1946. The United Nations has passed two resolutions so far. They both define the rights of the child and are known as the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Although these resolutions are important in setting guidelines of the rights of children, they have not been very effective. The resolutions are basically outlines of what countries should consider.
1. Asian Bloc: The Asian bloc is mainly known for its large child labor problems. The developing nations of Asia do not have the economic stability of the developed nations, and thus, rely heavily on child labor, especially within factories.
2. African Bloc: The African bloc, like the Asian bloc, has many developing nations that do not have the economic stability of developed nations. The African bloc is in the most need of cost-effective solutions as many areas of Africa do not have basic necessities such as infrastructure or they are very much underdeveloped. Solutions that are not cost-effective are thus, very hard to implement within Africa.
3. Latin America Bloc: Some Latin America countries act against child labor, but not all. Child labor in the Latin American bloc usually are agriculturally based, and often times there are no schools close enough for children living in rural areas. Within the Latin American nations, children are also trafficked heavily, sometimes in correspondence with Latin America’s drug trafficking problems.
4. Middle Eastern Bloc: The Middle Eastern Bloc also contains problems of poverty that the Asian bloc has. Families need the children to support the family within the Middle East and therefore, countries within the Middle East are less open to enforcing solutions or resolutions within their nations as they need the child labor to help their economy.
5. Western Bloc: This bloc is the most developed and therefore, consists the least amount of child labor. This bloc combats child labor and hopes for the future obliteration of child labor through multiple programs. These nations provide the most resources to assist NGO’s and countries that lack resources.
In the past a “50/50 Plan” was introduced, hoping to use vocational training while having these children in order to please laborers, human rights activists, and TNCs. It would keep the children working, however at the same time, still allow them to receive their education. Education would also then be used as an incentive for the children to work more efficiently, which creates more productivity for the TNCs and improves the economic status of the LDC. However, the 50/50 Plan is hard to implement within all of the LDCs as it requires cooperation from each LDC and each TNC. Also, it is hard to “checkup” on the TNCs to see if the education is actually being carried out within every single factory. A great solution will be one that combines the obliteration of child labor with the implementation of education. With both working together, children will be relieved of hard working conditions and provided an education they never received. Also, promoting awareness of the subject will engage world activists and help gain the momentum needed to abolish child labor.
1. What has your country done in the past to help demolish child labor?
2. What standards has your nation set within its own factories concerning child labor?
3. Has your nation had any past child labor violations?