In today’s world, one would believe that the majority of Americans would oppose supporting a business that exploits the use of child labor to produce its goods. However, the odds are we all have in one way or another supported these businesses the last time we went shopping. Whether it is a toy for a child or a jacket to keep you warm, it was probably was made using child labor in one of the many different parts of the globe. The use of child labor is a major factor of the global economy in today's age of globalization where U.S. companies such as Nike, Reebok, or Wal-Mart have taken control of the market (Calucag).
Western civilization has attempted to fight child labor for years now with little to show for it. The main reason has been the failure to come up with reasonable ways to communicate Western values and opinions on practices that should be eliminated and turn them into effective solutions. Third-world countries offer child labor (Low-cost Labor) as competitive advantage in the world market (Qadeer). As a result, companies from the west have let low-cost, high profitability, blind their morality. Consequently, rather than making sure no child labor is involved in the production of their product, companies have embraced it by running their operations in countries that allow it to occur. By doing this, companies are able to keep production costs as low as possible, thus increasing profits.
Child labor is the employment of children who are under the legal minimum age. UNICEF defines child labor to be seen as happening along continuum, with exploitation on one end and the development of a strong work ethic on the other side (Stackhouse). When children are forced to work long hours, their ability to attend school or to complete skills training are limited, consequently negatively affecting their ability to do well economically.
Children in third world countries go to work because they are simply trying to satisfy their basic needs of survival. Education is both poor and very limited for children in these parts of the world and if they had a choice between going to school and working; the odds are that they would chose to work and make money to survive. The one “sure” way to eliminate poverty is by promoting the education of children (Greenhouse). It's not only the children who need to be educated, but the parents must also be educated and capable of providing their children with an alternative life style. Parents of these children must be enlightened to the fact they have been working since they were very young and have nothing to show for it. This is not what human progress should be, humans should strive to provide their children a better life than they had.
Child laborers are not only paid very little, but the dangerous working conditions are exposing them to additional health risk. "Children are employed in intrinsically hazardous occupations where they contract silicosis, pneumoconiosis, and byssinosis" (Burra). The author goes on...