Hidden Truths of Child Labor
Did you ever have to work overtime while not being paid for it? According to The International Labour Organization estimated about 110 million children that are aged from 5-14 years are engaged in labor that can be described as intolerable. Existing child abuse takes on different forms but child labor remains as one of the largest forms. Through some articles it commonly takes place in Asia and the Pacific, while the largest currently suggest to have taken place in Africa with an estimated of children under 14 years old making up a third of the total people in the workforce. The history of child labor existed before it was even considered to be intolerable and it was finally starting to be discussed about during the early 1900s. Reports show the many reasons for a child to be in the position where they have to work to survive and why some places are likely to have higher percentage of this happening. Tackling child labor and preventing it from happening, several laws exists worldwide but that does not mean that it will end it for good. Child labor will likely occur more in less developed places and living conditions get identified as intolerable for children.
Child labor became well known and brought to light by people during the early 1900’s. The rise of child laborers contributed to the cause of people to gain a knowledge of the rising problem at hand and more people to put their attention towards the problem. According to Archives and Records Administration an estimation of 2 million children under the age of 15 worked in factories and industries (Kowalski). During this time it was believed that the numbers showed increased dramatically and received more attention towards the problem of child labor. The estimated numbers rose from than but according to a recent calculations and article, more American children live below the poverty line today than 20 years ago (Pediatrics). This means that more children will look in the direction of having to work at a young age to survive. The numbers counting only in America is already horrid to see but the combination numbers counted worldwide fall into the category of intolerable. An estimation of 168 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 year olds work worlwide (Kowalski). The estimated numbers of child labor in history is shocking to see but there were laws passed in America and worldwide to aid and decrease the numbers.
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Through many accounts and attempt to stop and aid the children from working at such a young age, many laws started to pass worldwide. The first law to pass took place in 1904 when the National Child Labor Committee and with the help of the president Theodore Roosevelt, started to push for a national law (Kowalski). They wanted to lower the number of children living in labor and make sure every children in hidden areas. Though with the passing of the first law in 1904, to ensure more efficient progress, in 1916 congress passed the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act. This law helped the hidden labors like the mines and factories where many children worked endlessly without any outsiders knowing(Kowalski). pass many laws worldwide but still needed to help their own people in the United States and with the help of the president, a law was finally passed around the 1930s. Since 1938, child labor in the United States has been regulated under the federal Fair Labor (Pediatrics). The laws passed is to help stop child labor but it will not always turn out to be that way and have some problems within.
The impacts of the laws that were passed throughout America and worldwide there will be some complications in some ways. Child labor law violations come from the children themselves but in 1983 to 1989 a detection that employers increased (Pediatrics). That means that employers violated the laws to hire underage children and still have them work in intolerable jobs. The laws didn’t reach some places and there were still alternative problems with states that still allowed children to work in textile mills factories, and mines for 60 or more hours per week (Kowalski). Worldwide numbers of child labor and signs of improvement continue to be identified as atrocious. ‘Change is better than nothing’ because worldwide 12 countries identified as having made ‘no advancement’ at all, the laws seem to just exists as something to ignore and continue their barbaric acts (Abdulla). Child labor has always been around and it was finally brought to light but there were actions that needed to be taken to actually help. Laws were being passed after another when one fails. There were some impacts that the laws achieved in some states that was in maybe better condition but there is still a huge number of the act involving child labor.
There are various reasons of why child labor might happen in certain areas and I concluded some of them by the various articles that was read. There is no way to change or choose where you want to grow up so the children in were put into the situation. With not a lot of children or advancements countries where the population of children non-existent or extremely small usually fall under this category (Abdulla). With less children they don’t have friends or know how to be children at an age they should still be. “Child labor today represents the largest cause of child abuse across the globe. Most of it takes place in economically less developed countries, and much is hidden,” said Thomas Scanlon. With the world not knowing where child labor is happening they won’t be able to help and the child will continuing to be abused into working intolerable jobs. The problem happens within the country, child labor is intimately connected to the operation of labor markets, and solving the former therefore depends on solving problems that afflict developing country labor markets (Palley). It happens mostly in countries with labor markets and where economic development is a problem.
There are laws that prohibit children from working at certain jobs and employers from hiring them. That does not stop them from working though, they lie that they are older and if an employers are caught hiring a children they tell them that they didn’t know about the children’s age. The law is weak, some laws accepted a parent’s word about a child’s age, so many poor parents lied. If the parents don’t lie it is them since most children who work do so as a means of survival, and working children have been to contribute up to almost 90% of the family income (Scanlon).
The problem of child labor is being ignored by most of the people today and they act as if the problem does not exist anymore. “Some countries still do not recognise that ignoring or promoting child labor is not consistent with long term economic development,” said Scanlon. They do not realize that child labor is a huge problem and choose to ignore the rising problem at hand while they promote it also. The people who want to prohibit the act of child labor completely are mostly in developed countries, calls for prohibition can seem hollow in the eyes of developing countries, which maintain that the developed countries themselves relied extensively on child labor when they were at a similar stage of economic development (Palley). They focus on the wrong problem and not the hidden ones, international sanctions sanctions and consumer boycotts cannot in isolation end child labor, particularly if their sole focus is the export industry, which represents a fraction of all child labor (Scanlon). They actually take advantage of the problem a child is in, landlords can bond a child worker for as little as US$1.50 and family debts are manipulated so that there is no hope of repayment (Scanlon). If the problem at hand is already being ignored by multiply people who can actually help, the hidden and harsher side will never be brought to light.
Child labor usually takes a toll on the children involved since it has harmful and bad effect on them physically and emotionally. “All children in intolerable and hazardous labor face a life of fear, isolation, hunger, and emotional, and physical abuse,” said British Medical Journal. Emotionally it makes them live in fear for the rest of their lives if they got out of it and they isolate themselves from the people that are the same age as them.They don’t fear for themselves, a child may be reluctant to reveal that work was the source of the trauma because of losing a job, reprimand, or even deportation (Pediatrics).
Physically a child’s body is still developing and doing harmful things to the body can stop their development and have a long lasting outcome. There is not a lot of data on the health of the children’s health, the ones that are available points to bad only outcomes, these children risk a wide range of diseases and injuries (Scanlon).There is a huge health problem that reports have listed, numerous reports describe poisoning, serious skin and other infections, chronic lung disease, cancers, burns, amputations, skeletal deformities, and impairments to hearing, vision, and immune function (Scanlon). The problem with children working is that they can be exposed occupationally to toxins such as benzene from (pumping gasoline), pesticides (from law care and agriculture), and asbestos (from construction and maintenance work)(Pediatrics). The problems that are described may not actually happen during the time that they work but can affect their adulthood and risk damaging their future body.
If the problems that child labor does to them, it will take less time for them to actually face the problems early and die from the work that they do. The number of children who face death early while working is actually the same as, estimated number of 15-19 years old killed each year of work is comparable to the number who die in falls(103), in fires(126), on bicycles(129), and by poisoning(19)(Pediatrics). There will be injury that happens in a workforce but it affects children more than adults who works just as the same as the child. “Injuries are the leading cause of death in children older than 1 year and the leading cause of potential years life lost in the United States. Approximately 20, 000 american children die of injuries each year,” said Pediatrics. The work that they do are harmful and affects them physically more than an adult who has worked the same as them because they are already done developing. “Children on farms are permitted under the FLSA to operate heavy equipment at younger ages than in other sectors of American industry”. They are already put in harmful situations and damaging their bodies to actually be developed as it should. It might just be a long lasting damage they have to deal with for the rest of their lives but short term is death.
Child labor happens frequently more in less developed countries and living conditions deem as intolerable for children. An estimation of over millions of children is involved in child labor and is one of the largest form of child labor. From the history of the first law being passed to the law that are around recent years many people try to stop the act of child labor around the globe. With the topic being talked about by more people the children could at least acquire some help since the problem will receive more attention to the problem. To see more process of improvement child labor requires more action taken by outside people, not just conversations or articles spread throughout social media. It might not affect the people living in an already developed country but it does to many children who lives in the area.
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- Scanlon, Thomas J, et al. “Child labour: vast problem whose effects on children’s health remain largely unstudied.” British Medical Journal, 24 Aug. 2002, p. 401+. Student Edition, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A91560809/STOM?u=6795wesths&sid=STOM&xid=3790d3e1. Accessed 6 Feb. 2019.