All over the world there are industrial facilities that employ children to work for them. This is a problem most people don’t even realize. Child labor is one of the worst methods of abuse to children. Child labor is an increasing problem in China. The ILO estimates that the number of working children are about 150 million in the countries Africa and Asia with no education. Many popular toy, clothing, or anything with a label that reads “Made in China” could have possibly been made from forced child labor, but that’s not to say that all child labor is forced by the employer. The fundamental rights of a child is survival, education, protection and development and are violated by child labor. The root cause of child labor is extreme poverty which forces the parents to employ their children for some extra money for daily living.
Overall the minimum age of employment is 15 years old, which is the minimum age of completion of grade school (ILO, 1973). In China, three important laws, the Labor Law of the Regulations Banning Child Labor (Article 2), People’s Republic of China (Article 15), and the Law of People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Minors (Article 28), state that state organs, social bodies, enterprises, institutions, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses are not allowed under any circumstances to employ children under the age of 16. Employment of children under the age of 16 is referred to as using child labor. Employers who use child labor will be fined by the labor protection authorities with 5000 yuan per month for each child laborer used (Article 6). Additionally, young workers are protected from any difficult, poisonous or harmful labor or any dangerous operation by the Law of People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Minors (Article 28).
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Hours worked by children can rise from two different decisions: a participation decision and a decision of how many hours to work per day. In China, the minimum legal working age is 16, set by laws and regulations of the People’s Republic of China. Parents and other guardians are prohibited from sending their children under the age of 16 to work. Children from households with high levels of legal awareness are less likely to engage in child labor. However, the level of legal awareness tends not to be paired with the number of hours worked by a child. To avoid potential endogeneity problems, we can use the legal awareness of neighbors, share of adults paying attention to news about law enforcement in a village or community (excluding own households), as a variable, which affects whether a child engages in child labor but not the amount of working hours.
As the number of hours in a day is fixed, there is a tradeoff between hours worked and school attendance. A large number of studies find that child labor has negative effects on school attendance of children (e.g., Psacharopoulos, 1997; Ray, 2003). In China, all children must go to school for at least 9 years, under the 9 year compulsory education system. It is 6 years of primary education, typically starting at age 6, and 3 years of junior high school education for ages 12 to 15. According to the Compulsory Education Law of the People’s Republic of China (1986), all children are required to enroll in schools. Child labor participation is significantly associated with a higher school dropout rate, and the interaction is stronger for modern children and for girls.
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