Although we are residing in the 21st century with increased advancements of the century, yet there are some issues and social disabilities that still exist in our surroundings. One of such social curse has been the problem of child labor. It is regarded as one of the most concerning global issue. As defined by the international Labor Organization (ILO), child labor refers to the economic activities that are performed by children below 15 years of age. Children below this age limit are not permitted legally by law to work for livelihood. However, several parts around the world are completely ignorant about the fact and they mostly employ young children in serious economic activities (Carpenter and Rodgers). It has been a common phenomenon that children are inevitably engaged into labor market since decades, and so this raises the need to conduct a careful analysis of the major issues, outcomes, and prevention of such a fatal social concern.
Child labor is pre-dominant even in the society of the present century due to numerous factors which lead to its growth. Firstly, there is a sheer lack of clarity. It is not possible to address this problem of child labor unless people stop confusing child work with child labor. Child work refers to the process by which young children or kids are made to learn the habit of doing their work by themselves, like that of preparing their own beds, cleaning their bedrooms, or helping with family members (Kozhimannil et al.). These are the basics that every child is supposed to learn from young age. However, child labor depicts a totally different concept. In this case, children are made to work forcefully against the law and this employment of children below the age of 15 years may be hazardous for them. So, it is important for all individuals to understand the difference between the two concepts. The social issue of child labor derives benefit from young children or kids and imparts them with several severe health-problems (Manacorda and Rosati). These children are exploited economically as they are paid the minimum amount possible by their employers. So, our society is one of the most crucial factors for such a social problem. Other factors include poverty and market forces. Since the cost of labor market is on a rise and labors are quite expensive to be employed, it has become a common tendency of employers to employ children at the cost of their tenderness and to receive the maximum profit possible (Polakoff). Also, children are easier to be controlled and managed as per the demands of the employers. These children do not ask for bonus or benefits. Moreover, the families fear of poor economic conditions that may be fatal for their survival. For ensuring a steady income for family, the families are more interested in engaging the young children of the family into work. Another factor for child labor is politics as well as administration policies regarding rights and welfare of children. As per specific administration policies of individual nations, the exact number of children engaged in economic activities is invisible or made restricted, and so there is no official existence of such an issue. The lack of economic resources for enforcing legislation regarding the educational system within the developing nations increases the exact number of such victimized children who start working at a very tender age instead of studying. There is a lack of congruence amidst values, economics, and laws (Simpson and Knox). The issue of child labor is being supported by customers who purchase goods from firms who have a track record of exploiting children in sweatshops. Young children are made to work at these sweatshops for long hours, in hazardous conditions in absence of any additional benefits. This is a form of exploitation of the young lives.
The problem has a severe negative impact upon the mental and physical conditions of the children. It also affects their health and educational interests. They are not only exploited but also their lives are put to danger at every step. Moreover, these children are deprived of their basic rights and that of education. Immense level of exploitation causes harm to their social, mental, psychological, moral, and spiritual development (Chang, Jiyeun and Byung-You Cheon). As stated by the International Labor Organization, children are often compelled to work under harsh working conditions like hazardous work environment, lifting heavy loads, lack of drinking water, etc. These adverse work environments result in physical disfiguration as well as prolonged health problems in children. Studies of ILO have identified that such exploitations of children often affect them in the long run especially throughout the phase of adulthood due to illness or injury. The most significant and concerning impact is that these children are deprived of their fundamental right of education. At the expense of education, these children are exploited and moreover these affect their health and welfare in the long run. As per the records of the Statistical Information and Monitoring Program on Child (SIMPOC), children engaged in economic activities are negatively impact upon the learning and awareness of children. In certain places like that of Cambodia and Namibia, the children are even more affected due to adverse work hours. Extended work hours do not allow children to acquire education and learning if they desire to pursue. These children are exposed to low level of social significance and are unaware of their own rights and environments. There is a strong and positive role that adult education plays in improving the child’s learning. The negative impact of child work on learning is remarkably robust.
To recommend about some effective measures to counter this social issue, it may be said that it is important to reduce overall poverty of the society at large in order fight this social problem. As long as poverty exists in the society, children at lower levels throughout the world would be compelled to work and get exploited by employers at the cost of their childhood. Secondly, it is important that education is made compulsory for every child (Chang, Jiyeun and Byung-You Cheon). This can be done by implicating some legal obligations or creating favorable work conditions for the children to visit educational institutions, and also reducing the cost to households for attending schools. Moreover, motivations such as arrangement of food, shelter, literary programs must be made available to the children and families for supporting acquiring of education. Also, raising public awareness by improving children knowledge of work hazards, raising parental awareness of the loss of human capital that may be associated with child labor, and changing the emphasis of policy makers are to be incorporated. Improved awareness is more likely to lead to cooperation between local communities, non-governments organization, and governments to put pressure on employers (Carpenter and Rodgers). It is hard to create policies that protect the child because child labor is a universal activity that occurs cross-cultural where it is necessary activity in one culture and dangerous in another, therefore, in order to provide protection it is necessary to be as comprehensive as possible in creating a definition of what child labor is.
To conclude, it may be said that the problem of child labor the problem of child labor has been in existence and perpetuated from the ancient period to our present day in one or other form, due to several socio-economic and political factors such as, poverty and illiteracy, yet the root cause for the prevalence of child labor is ignorance of people. The future of the nation depends on how its children grow and develop. Consequently, it is the duty of society to look after every child with a view to assuring full development of its personality. In other words no child below the age of fifteen years should work at anything but school.
Carpenter, Seth B., and William M. Rodgers. 'The Disparate Labor Market Impacts Of Monetary Policy1'. Labor History 46.1 (2005): 57-77. Web.
Chang, Jiyeun, and Byung-You Cheon. 'Female Labor Supply And Its Impacts On Household Level Income Inequality'. koreanjournaloflaborstudies 20.2 (2014): 219-248. Web.
Kozhimannil, Katy Backes et al. 'Employment During Pregnancy And Obstetric Intervention Without Medical Reason: Labor Induction And Cesarean Delivery'. Women's Health Issues 24.5 (2014): 469-476. Web.
Manacorda, Marco, and Furio C. Rosati. 'Local Labor Demand And Child Labor'. SSRN Journal n. pag. Web.
Polakoff, E. G. 'Globalization And Child Labor: Review Of The Issues'. Journal of Developing Societies 23.1-2 (2007): 259-283. Web.
Simpson, Kathleen Rice, and G. Eric Knox. 'Fundal Pressure During The Second Stage Of Labor'.MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing 26.2 (2001): 64-71. Web.