Child Labour Issues and Challenges

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Childhood should be a child’s happiest moment in life. They should be able to spend it playing with friends, spending time with family, and going to school; however, not all children are fortunate enough to have this opportunity. Their childhood days are taken over by their jobs. Millions of kids around the world, mostly in developing countries, work long hours for just pennies a day. They sacrifice their health, safety, and sometimes their lives. Child labor is often mistaken as light work performed by a child.

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Many fails to see the brutality that the children have to go through. Child labor can be due to poverty but it is far from the only cause. Although some work that is done by children may be beneficial, child labor is wrong because of the effects that it has on a child.

To start to define child labor, it’s important to know who is involved. A child defined by the Convention on the Rights of Child is a human being under the age of eighteen years (Cox). The age of eighteen, from the perspectives of many countries, symbolizes that a person has moved onto adulthood and is able to take care of themselves. Physically and psychologically children are more vulnerable because they are not mature enough to make choices and reliably express free will. According to the ILO the age recommended to work is fifteen (Cox). This shows that there’s an age limit applied to children and children who are under fifteen should not be working in any forceful work. Not only is age important to determine what a child is, but it is also important to know where they come from and what kind of job they do can contribute to it (Cox). Knowing what kind of job they do, and how strenuous it is, will determine if that person is supposed to be working.

Defining labor can be as difficult as defining a child because it is hard to determine if certain works are considered labor. Abusive, unhealthy, exploitation of children that interfere with their education has become the focus of international concern (Tierney Jr.). While some forms of child labor are traditional, like working for family businesses, some kids are forced into it; furthermore, some of the conditions can be abusive and unbearable. Works that are unsafe, or harmful to the child’s health and their development is defined by The Convention on the Rights of the Child as labor (Cox). This definition focuses not only on the child’s work but also on the effects that it has on the child. Whether or not a child is involved in labor must depend on the type of the work that the child is doing, the effects of amount of time she is expected to do(Cox). In order for it to be labor it has to be harmful or forced work.

Child labor mostly occurs in developing countries. There are an estimated 250 million children between the age of five and fourteen who are working in developing countries according to the International Labor Organization (Tierney Jr.). This estimation was done nineteen years ago and the numbers of children involved in this could be rising. Half of the 250 million children come from Asia, followed by Africa, Latin America and Caribbean(Tierney Jr.). Tierney’s estimation shows that child labor is likely to occur in developing and less developed countries than those in industrialized. America also had a time when children worked long hours in factories and stores and many of who were underaged.In the United States reportedly 292,000 children work illegally and 60,000 of the children are under the age of fourteen in 2000(Conley). Although America is a prosperous country child labor occurred before and it’s continuing to grow slowly. This shows that there are still child labor in industrialized countries.

There are various causes for child labor. The most common one being poverty and high level of unemployment rate. The most compelling reason for child labor usually cited is poverty(Cox). Therefore, children whose parents are not employed with steady income are more likely to work because the income for the family is unpredictable. Poverty is directly related to child labor. The highest percentage of children employment comes from countries with the highest literacy rate, lowest school enrollment, and worst nutritional deficiencies (Tierney Jr.). This shows that poor countries employs most of the children. Families that are in extreme poverty sells their child into work to pay off debt or provide extra income for the family (Conley). Parents sometimes will sell their child to any kind of work even if they have to turn to prostitution to pay off their debt and pay their bills.

A General cause for child labor is poverty but far from the only one. Disadvantaged socially and culturally children who are subjected to the most intolerable forms of labor comes from population groups who are economically vulnerable (Cox). Their traditional ideas and beliefs plays a significant role in child labor. Expected to follow family traditions in many countries, work is thought to be a way for children to learn about life and how the world works (Cox). The fact that children from poorer, disadvantaged, and minority groups work instead of going to school shows that it’s part of life and education may sometimes be not valued. In India many believe that some people are born to rule and work with their minds while others are born to work with their body (Cox). This show that no matter how develop a country is if it does not educate its people about their role in society nothing will change.

There are demands factors for children. Being more of an attractive workers for employer children are more obeying than adults and is less likely to be aware of their rights and cause trouble (Cox). From a perspective of an employer children are easily manipulated and controlled and that they depend on them. Less children means that they need to replace them with adults. Business have the opportunity to increase their profits margins through the use of cheap labor (Cox). Businesses are saving a lot of money from hiring a child because they pay them less than a adult. For millions of those who can’t afford the simplest of luxuries employing children is an economic necessity (Tierney Jr.). Family and the country need child labor because it’s a necessity for them. Even if a country is develop children will always be a desirable employee as long as they get paid less.

Works performed by a child sometimes is beneficial to them. Children sometimes become the sole supporter for their family when one or both of their parents desert them (fanning). A child may be a financial necessity for their families who do not make enough money to buy the basic essential to survive. Children work to help pay off the families debt(Conley). The only choice for families to survive is for their children to also help too. Even if they have the opportunity to go to school the child still have to work to help pay for it because free schooling can still be expensive (Cox). Children from a poor family can pay their school fees by working. It will help pay for schooling but, may not have the time to attend school.

Children can benefit if they work under supervised conditions. It may be acceptable if the work is appropriate, light and not harmful to their health or development. Children can advance their skills and range career choices (Tierney Jr.). It can help them decide what they want to do in their future while helping their families and they will learn how to become independent. Working under supervised can be productive and rewarding in the growth of a child (Tierney Jr.). This shows that children can only benefit if they work in safe conditions. Work is a matter of survival for poor families. (Tierney Jr.) people need to work to put food on the table. Parents consider their children as a reliable source of income. It can be a huge support for poor families if their children bring in the money.

Children who work can actually prevent them from doing dangerous work. The job that children are doing can actually change their lives (What’s Wrong with the World Day Against Child Labor). Preventing a child from working can worsen their their lives. Many children dismissed from work will be forced to fend for themselves (Tierney Jr.). A child has support themselves from working and if they loses their job they will have to beg or be involved in a more dangerous stuff. They will only adopt more hazardous forms of activity including crimes (Tierney Jr.). If they leave a job that is considered dangerous they will only do more dangerous work than the previous one.

The negative effects of child labor is tremendous. Child labor deprives a child from their education. One in every three adults in developing countries are illiterate. There are 125 million children of primary school age who have not spent a single day in school, and another 150 million drop out before learning how to read many of who are young girls(Conley). This shows the overwhelming number of children who works instead of going to school. The less educated the parents, the more likely that their child will work. According to American researchers, the academic performance of a young person between the age of twelve and seventeen years old can be affected if they work(Cox). Children are not suppose to be working to suffer educationally. Education is part of the solution to decrease child labor and poverty (Cox). By working every day, children miss school and the proper education that could enable them to find better-paid jobs in their adult lives.

Children risk their health and life when they work. Certain types of child labor can be hazardous to their health since their body have not been fully developed (Conley). Children can have long term illnesses or die because of their difficult working conditions. Children in developing countries who works on the train are verbally abused by passenger and many times are locked up by the police for no reason (Conley). Not only are they abused but are beaten and punish for things they did not do. Children as young as 8 years of age and work 12 hours a day going through rotting garbage without wearing protective clothing causing them to fall ill (Fanning). This shows that children are often working without proper protective gear.

Children put so much efforts into working but get so little pay their hard work. Those who are lucky will pocket $7 dollars for a month labor( fanning). This shows that even if they work for months they won’t make that much money. Children are often hire by employer who will work cheap for them(fanning). most countries have laws that forbid businesses from hiring children to perform dangerous work. However, they are rarely punish for breaking it. Some children might think that what they are earning is a lot to them. A child believed by many is able to perform certain task of which adults can’t and will be paid less than adult(Conley). Even if they perform the same work as adults they are being manipulated by their employers.

Child labor is still a big issue in the world. Kids facing child labor should not have to go through what they go through. Millions of the kids who work are affected both negatively and positively. Children are still too young and should get the chance to grow and develop rather than working. Children are the future and hope for their country and they should be nurtured.

Work Cited

Conley, Jeanine. “Child Labor — Robbing Children of Their Youth.” ?Pediatric Nursing?,

Nov. 2000, p. 637. ?General OneFile,? 9. Accessed 8 Feb. 2019.

Cox, Katherine E. “The inevitability of nimble fingers? Law, development, and child labor.” ?Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law?, Jan. 1999, p. 115. ?General OneFile?, . Accessed 5 Feb. 2019.

“What’s Wrong with the World Day Against Child Labour?”?SIRS Issues Researcher,? 13 Jun. 2016, ?

Tierney Jr., John J. “The World of Child Labor.” ?World and I,? Aug. 2000, p. 54. ?General OneFile,? Accessed 5 Feb. 2019.

Fanning, Karen. “LOST CHILDHOODS.” ?Junior Scholastic?, 9 Apr. 2001, p. 6. ?General OneFile,? . Accessed 6 Feb. 2019.


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Child Labour Issues and Challenges. (2020, Feb 25). Retrieved from