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The Immorality Of Child Labor Essay

1305 words - 5 pages

The Immorality of Child Labor


Child labor is a serious moral issue. There have been many controversial debates over whether it should be legal or not. Two different viewpoints on the subject exist. Many argue that child labor is morally wrong and that the children should not work, no matter how poverty stricken their family might be. Advocates and major corporations that support child labor argue that it is good because it gives poverty-stricken families a source of income.

Child labor first appeared with the development of domestic systems (when people became civilized). It was widely practiced in England, America, and other countries during the 16th-18th centuries. Children were paid very little for the dangerous conditions and the long hours they were required to work. Many of these children worked in factories, mills, mines, and other horrible places. Some families sold their children into labor for money to pay off debts. These children worked off the debt and were a source of income for the family.

Today, child labor is illegal in most developed countries. There are strict laws that monitor the jobs, hours, wages, etc. that children have if they do work. An example of these laws, is one that requires all children to go to school until they are 16 years of age before they can drop out and be employed full time. Most third world and under-developed countries are where the majority of child laborers can be found.

Child labor is morally wrong. The children shouldn?t be forced to work.
Most children who work are little more than slaves to their employers. They put up with abuse, starvation, and sometimes never being paid for their work. One eight year-old boy, Munnilal, from Varanasi, India, was freed when a raid was lead on the factory in which he worked and was kept in a slave-like environment. His ?Master? gave him no money for the long hours he worked. He also stated that he was ?hit again and again.?(Kielberger, 6.)

Children who are forced to work also miss out on life and their chance for a good education. ?In Pakistan, I talked to a boy making bricks. He had been sold into labor by his grandfather to pay a debt. ?Would you like to go to school?? I asked him.
?What is school?? he asked me.? (Kielberger, 5.) In India, only 64% of males and 39% of females are literate.

When children are forced to work at a young age, they can also develop serious health problems. ?Health problems are compounded for children because they are more susceptible than adults to the types of illnesses and injuries associated with occupational hazards.? (Parker, http://www.busph.bu.edu/Gallery/Introp.html.)

Child labor is necessary in some places because poor families need the extra income this will bring.
Poverty is the reason many children go to work. In India, 37% of the urban and 39% of the rural populations live in poverty. (Unknown.) Studies have ?revealed a positive correlation- in some...

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