Child Labor: A Growing Stigma Essay

963 words - 4 pages

Child labor is one of the most controversial debates existing today. It is an issue that is spread throughout the world and has in some way or another been apart of every country. One cannot describe child labor using one specific definition because it has different meanings in almost every country. However, there is one common characteristic it possesses: the lack of development in a country.Looking at the world today, the economies of each country vary so greatly. Many of the less developed, financially unstable countries exploit young children into factories, workshops, and hazardous areas. These children are unable to avoid this scandal because of the situation that many of them are put in. Since their birth, they are designated to work as young as five to support their family. Education is not an option because almost all of these countries have either no educational system or a pitiful, non-rewarding form of one. Therefore, kids are trapped and do not have the ability to enjoy so many of the wonderful things children in more developed countries get to experience. By not promoting education, the children eventually grow into a society completely undeveloped and illiterate, furthermore continuing the ongoing process of child labor promoting itself.Smaller countries are not the only ones that have been affected by child labor. Wealthier countries such as America have had a dark past with child labor like many of the present day third-world countries. In the early 1900's, America was industrializing itself and began developing assembly lines to mass-produce items. This was a stepping stone into changing the economy. The problem with this approach, however, was all of this was happening right around the time of World War I and the Great Depression. These two events caused widespread poverty to families throughout the United States. Children were forced to work in terrible conditions because either their father was at war or it was impossible to put food on the table with the lack of available jobs. So in effect, the poverty and lack of a developed economy promoted child labor to new heights. As Eric Edmonds, a professor from Dartmouth College states in the article 'Child Labor: Sickness or Symptom,' "poverty, not child labor, is the real problem."Not only is child labor morally wrong, it is also physically debilitating. Children who work at these young ages are often left with both physical and psychological problems. In India for example, children making silk thread are forced to put their hands in boiling water, causing burning and blistering to their hands. They are also forced to breathe in dangerous fumes from the machinery around them, and guide threads that cut their fingers. These are things that no human being should be forced to do, let alone a child. This is just one of many extremely hazardous jobs that children all over the world are demanded to...

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