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History Of Child Labor Essay

1332 words - 6 pages

Child labor has existed in almost every society throughout history, and although most nations have rid of this abusive practice, it still exists in many poor, third-world countries today. Child labor is the misuse and exploitation of children at work. Some children labor under harsh conditions, such as working long hours, receiving low to no wages, and being placed in unsafe environments. Today no society advocates child labor, however, it continues and according to the United Nations is a “growing evil” (Greene 9). Child labor not only prevents children from receiving an education, but the responsibility of supporting a family can cause long-term psychological and physical effects. Although ...view middle of the document...

The global “race to the bottom” has increased poverty and is a growing concern for labor unions. Because of these global economic conditions, countries in South America and Africa that rely heavily on exports have experienced increased poverty and child labor rates. Poverty rates and child labor rates often parallel with each other because children are often needed to supplement their family income.
According to UNICEF, 246 million children worldwide are engaged in Child labor (“Child Labour robs children…” 1). Out of the 246 million, 53 million children under fifteen years of age are in hazardous work and should be “immediately removed from this work” (“Anti-Slavery - Child Slavery” 1). The International Labor organization suggests that child labor hinders children’s education, development and future livelihoods.
Each year, the Child Labor Index is created and countries are ranked by numbers and are placed in categories depending how many child laborers are in each country. According to the Child Labor index 2014, Eritrea and Somalia are ranked number one and in the extreme category for the amount of child labor. High poverty is a similar theme across the board of the top ten countries where child labor is most prevalent (Hunt 1).
Even though China is not in the Top 10 on the Child Labor Index, it did slip from 53rd to 20th place this last year. Young men who worked in China’s Huanya factory complex claimed that they worked long hours with no air-conditioning and suffered from skin rashes after working with certain powders. They also stated that they were forced to sign papers “volunteering” to work overtime and would earn anywhere from ten to two hundred dollars a month, far less than minimum wage (Barboza 2).
In India Stoughton’s article “Solving Lebanon’s labor crisis,” she claims that the amount of child labor in Lebanon is increasing because of the amount of child refugees fleeing Syria and coming into Lebanon. Stoughton sates that the amount of child laborers in Lebanon has increased from 100,000 to 300,000 since the Syrian crisis has begun; although, an exact number has not been calculated due to the lack of funds and implementation. According to Stoughton, adult Syrian refugees are unable to find legal work because they arrived in Lebanon with no papers. As a result, only twenty percent of adults in Lebanon are working while sixty percent of children are a part of the workforce (Stoughton 1-3).
UNICEF director, Ann M. Veneman, generalizes the effects that child labor can have on child. According to Ann, child laborers are deprived of a proper childhood and often go unrecognized because they are hidden from the public eye. Many children are not given proper health care, nutrition, education, and security. Another member of UNICEF, Anthony MacDonald, also suggests that the great responsibilities taken on by child laborers can be detrimental to a child’s life. “Very often children have become the main breadwinners in the household,...

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