Idea of Child Labor

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Updated: Mar 20, 2021
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The most important time of any person’s life is their childhood. It is the time period of development, learning, advancing, and much more to help shape a person into an adult. The idea of child labor is considered as a form of straight up child abuse, because it is the exploitation of a child’s rights and freedoms(Freedman, R, 1994, Child Labor, Kids At Work) Thus, child labour is considered as when underage children are employed, and this happens while a child labourer is paid less than an adult labourer in addition to just employing children into the workforce at young ages.

Childhood is the period of growth, learning, development, happiness, and much more of one’s self advancement. Putting children in the workforce really deprives them of the advantage of living their childhood to the best extent with education, learning, and fun that is necessary in a child’s youthful lifetime. Unfortunately, however, there are many countries that cultivate child labor as a cultural normal, and they are inconsiderate to the importance of this time period of an individual’s life. This causing suffering that is unheard from many children that live around the world due to the fact that they are forced to work in environments that are unsuitable for their size and age.

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Young boys, some as young as six years old, used to spend their long days, neither studying nor playing, but rather sorting coal in dangerous, dusty, and loud situations, environments, and conditions. Most of these breaker boys worked more than ten hours each day, six days a week all for as little as fourth five cents each day. Child labor was very common in the United States in the nineteenth century, before more moral rules and laws were introduced for peace for the children. (Michael Burgan, Breaker Boys: How a Photograph Helped End Child Labor, 2012)

In addition, the concept of child labour is an important subject that demonstrates strong emotions, beliefs and opinions that vary among people of different backgrounds and countries. Most people do not support the involvement of children in labor force activities, and this is being especially true when they are at an age in which requires other more important activities for their age, such as education and playing, to be the central role in learning and development. However, child labor represents a very complicated issue that often extends to beyond the opinions, beliefs come and emotions of these people. Much of this is related to the understanding that a wide variety of factors, such as economic, cultural, social, political and legal concerns. These are strongly a part of any child labour problems as well as the solution to these problems. That is significantly why as Americans, we are not totally made aware of the background of child labor because it is currently almost nonexistent in our country, even though it did exist in the past.

Years ago, back in the 1700’s, which was during the time of the Industrial Revolution which was taking place, where all types of people were utilized to industrialize America, many children were often in places in very dangerous situations environments for labor. For gaining the significant advantage of a better economy at the price of the children’s safety, America was able to develop into one of the most industrialized countries (Walter Trattner, Crusade for the Children: A History of the National Child Labor Committee and Child Labor Reform in America (1970)). In 1938, the United States Congress passed the first Fair Labor Standards Act to extinguish child labor in the United States. The Fair Labor Standards Act restricted children below 16 years of age from working and lists hazardous occupations too dangerous for young workers to work (The Nation, 2013, Child Labor In The USA)

Later, The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 banned child labor in factories and mines. However, many racist politicians of the South made sure that the existence of enough loopholes to keep black children working on the farm site. There were many young migrants who often do those jobs. Also, as Mariya Strauss demonstrates, it’s not just heat exhaustion and nicotine poisoning, but also, in fact, the hazardous factors that involve some farm vehicles, grain souls and manure pits, that put these children in significantly hazardous danger. The exact amount of how many have been injured or killed has not been able to be determined due to the fact that the government’s monitoring system is very weak (The Nation, 2013, Child Labor In The USA)

As time passed, the Fair Standards act of 1938 has become more strict and more people have been adhering to it. Child labor in the United States, even in the South, eventually came to end as moral standards because more clear and strict among the population.

However, just because child labor has ended in the developed United States of America, this does not mean that child labor does not exist in other underdeveloped countries around the world. It is still, in fact, widely used today in many other places outside of the United States. We should be more aware of what is going on outside of our viewpoints, such as the child workforce in other different countries.

For instance, there are over 70 million children worldwide work in dangerous workplaces in agriculture, domestic labor, mining, and other dangerous environments (UNDP. Human Development Report 2015. Work for Human Development.) Even in tobacco farms, which is banned to all individuals under eighteen years of age in many developed countries, children are forced to work long hours in heat, and they are exposed to many toxic substances, in which are very hazardous to their health and well being especially at their young age which is susceptible to risks of danger and long term negative impacts on their health.

For example, , in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, Africa, child work is still significantly existent in artisanal and gold mines that work underneath the ground and in pits. They are able to easily collapse. Children are immature and not used to such susceptible to danger situations, and they also use toxic mercury to process the gold, putting them at risk of brain damage and other dangerous health conditions at a young age.

In addition, today’s capital region of Guatemala, about five thousand of innocent children who are aged in between 6 and 14 were unfortunately found in illegally held for labor secretive workshops, making fireworks and other explosives that are hazardous to an immature and young group of young people. This causes children to be exposed to toxic, flammable, and explosive material which is very dangerous especially when it is being worked with children. The workshop also didn’t even have hygiene and safety measures. This caused the death of nine innocent children that were injured while working in the industry (Ortiz-Ospina, Esteban, and Max Roser. “ Esteban Ortiz, 2016, Child Labor: Our World in Data)

Child labour affects any children in terms of physical and mental health problems, as well as place of them at risk of abuse from their employers. Child labour is an everyday task for as many as 280 million children around the world, and mostly this is an unsuitable environment for most of the children in the workforce, (Global Estimates of Child Labour: Results and Trends 2012-2016 / International Labour Office. Geneva: ILO, 2017) They work on farms, factories, and in sweatshops for extremely low payage, and many of the children have little or no education, which is one of the most important parts of learning. Child labour consists of many issues and thoughts such as dehumanization (World report on child labour 2015: Paving the way to decent work for young people / International Labour Office. Geneva: ILO, 2015) Dehumanization is the deprivation of the positive human properties that everybody deserves as a human and as a person living in this world with the potential for a successful future and lifetime. Many places deprive children of this characteristic.

As a nation we must spread the word and defend the rights of all children who need an education and a healthy childhood. We must spread the word that child labor is illogical and inhumane, and is a literal form of dehumanization, which deprives children of their rights for a health childhood to have the potential for a good future as a person. Child labor should be discontinued in all countries for healthier and happier young individuals.

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Idea of Child Labor. (2021, Mar 20). Retrieved from