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Child Labor

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Child Labor: Stymieing a Global Pandemic
Axia College
Ericka Boice, Cherie Brown, and LaKeisha Wilkerson
August 30, 2010

Child labor is a serious moral issue that illegally employs children below the age of 15, which means that one is not under the sole responsibility of parents or illegal guardians. Child labor has been an invasive problem throughout the global economy for a very long time. It first appeared with the development of domestic systems and this problem exists mostly in foreign and developing countries such as Mexico, Asia, India, and Africa. There is an estimated 250 million child workers, between ages 5 to 14. Some are working fulltime and some part-time. Child Labor has been one of the biggest issues around the world because it puts children in unfavorable danger. The awareness that globalization is leading towards child exploitation is a very serious matter for international businesses. This kind of labor is damaging and negative towards the health of children. You can very well say a child’s life in this matter is diminishing towards their future because it is impossible for children to receive enrichment towards an education or enjoy a proper childhood.
Child Labor affects the global community because for one it is not an easy issue to resolve and it has been going on for a very long time in so many countries. It is found many issues involving child labor deals with children who are working because their families are very poor. The parent or parents could be are very ill leaving them unable to take care of the child or children forcing the children to go out and find work. In this case it is hard to say whether child labor may do harm or good. Many times while the children are working they get paid very, very, little to work in dangerous and hazardous conditions and work long harsh hours. I mentioned earlier this can be very unsafe and dangerous for children. Many of the locations where the children work are factories called slaughter houses cutting open animals such as cows for preparing different beef to sale. Other places are mines and mills diggings tunnels for coal and other findings. Many of the locations where the children work they end up catching diseases or becoming very ill. They come in contact with things such as chemical, animal blood, toxics and other ill people. An article on The National Labor Committee website and in the article it talked about how the company GAP had children 10-13 years of age held as bonded laborers forcing them to work for 16 hours a day with no pay and beaten with rubber hoses if they don’t comply. Another issue was in Bangladesh where an 11 and 13 year old girls were forced to work 7 days a week and 14 hours a day sewing clothing for Wal-Mart. They were being paid six cents an hour and they would get beaten if they fell behind in meeting their production goals. There are so many other companies such as Nike using children for little or nothing to keep their companies running and profitable. While the companies are making profits the children are losing out on so much like their childhood, a descent education, and enrichment.
The nature of child labor is a “long standing problem” (ILO 1993: 26), and in range it has been increasing economically, socially, and morally. Many types of common goods are made by child labor. These include: shoes, clothing, rugs, toys, chocolate, bananas, and coffee (Embar, 2006). The working conditions for these youths can be described as monstrous. The U. S. Department of Labor classifies a sweatshop as any workplace that violates two or more labor laws (Embar, 2006). The hiring of child labors is one such violation. Often, these children are forced to work and are not allowed to return home to their families (Embar, 2006). Still other children are abducted and forced to work (Embar, 2006). Still others are beaten when their performance does not meet with expectations (Embar, 2006). If this were not bad enough, the average wage for a child worker is less than 3% that of a comparable American worker (Embar, 2006). The plight of child laborers is painfully obvious. Work conditions that tend to be sweatshops, forced to work against their will, taken advantage of, corporal punishment, and underpayment for work are just a few of the myriad of issues that face child laborers. There are child labor laws designed to protect the welfare and safety of the youths. Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in 1938 to insure fairness and respect to the quality of life that should be awarded to children from birth. The FLSA has act protects children according to the nature of the work and the age of the child. A child must be fourteen years old to work in a non-manufacturing job and a child must be sixteen years old to work in the general public during school hours. Once they turn eighteen they are allowed to work in mainstream occupations that are deemed hazardous by the Department of Labor. In the United States, children are not allowed to work under sixteen without parental permission and in some cases they may need an employment certificate from their state to work under the age of sixteen. It is unfortunate and unacceptable to see and hear that despite of these laws destitute and desperate families are forced to allow the inhumane treatment of their precious souls at the risk of greed and unethical practices of major corporations. As mentioned earlier, children are forced to work in often hazardous environments for measly pay at the risk of their health and education. It has been reported by Chinese authorities in June 2007, Chinese police rescued 500 people, mostly children from brick ovens. It was reported that these individuals worked 18 hour days and were beaten if they tried to escape to freedom. Globalization is a step toward the reduction or elimination of the deplorable practices of exportations of our children in the workforce . Globalization opens up a window to the world. Through planning and commitment human services agencies can network ideas and strategies to end this global travesty. The Federal Government should take more action against the major corporations who practice unsafe and inhumane treatment of their workers. The Human Rights Watch has reported that despite their efforts the trafficking and exploitation of children goes unnoticed because the officials who are there to protect are not taking this issue seriously. UNICEF is an organization who mission is to speak on the behalf of the child. This organization is designed to reduce and eliminate the unfairness to children. They will protect children’s rights to help enhance the quality and advancement of their for social integration and independence. UNICEF operates by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. These standards are recognized globally and will be respected by all governments. They provide services regardless of race, color, gender, religion, origins, wealth, or birth status. This was the first international legal binding device to implement absolute human rights involving civic , cultural, economic, political and social rights. The Convention is another positive step toward the fight against child labor. The problem of child labor is reaching epidemic proportion. It is estimated that nearly 250,000 Asian children are exploited in order to produce carpet for American homes (GoodWeave.org, 2010). The International Labor Organization estimated that around 218 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 exploited for child labor (GoodWeave.org, 2010). The math is simple and the pandemic is clearly observable. Via some, or all, of the intervention techniques described in this paper, the epidemic of child labor may be stymied. As clear as the problem is, a complete solution is equally opaque. No solution, as yet can completely stop the tide of child labor. Child labor is simply too profitable for businesses to let go of. Until an economic solution is found, the rising tide of child labor will continue to grow. At present, the best that can be hoped for is a drop in the growth of child labor exploitation. Creating a child labor-free world requires the concerted effort of business owners and consumers. Until such a unified front is taken against exploitative child labor the problem will continue to persist.

References
Crary, D. (May 6,2010). Agencies Pledge to Curb Abuse of Child Farmworkers. Retrieved from http:// Organic Consumers Association.com

Embar, W. (2006). Sweatshops and Child Labor. Retrieved August 30, 2010; from http://veganpeace.com/sweatshops/sweatshops_and_child_labor.htm.

GoodWeave.org (2010). Campaign to End Child Labor. Retrieved August 30, 2010; from http://www.goodweave.org/campaign.php?cid=2.

Incidences and Nature of Child Labor – Child Labor Laws and Enforcement (). Retrieved August 28, 2010; from http://www.dol.gov/ilab/media/reports/iclp/tda2004/georgia.htm.

Moreau, D. (November 2008). Child Slave Labor Throughout the World. Retrieved from http://www.nicnet.org/article.php?id=172 The National Labor Committee , Gap Child Labor Controversy (November 2007) http://www.nlcnet.org/alerts?id=0098.…...

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