Happy and memorable childhood, filled with love and unforgettable moments, is an important and inseparable part of our life. However, unfortunately, not always the early years is a carefree period for some young people. Nowadays, child labor is a problematic social issue, especially in developing countries, which everyone must be aware of. It is a great international concern for every country, as approximately 215 million children and adolescents from 5 to 17 years old are currently working under illegal, unhealthy and exploitative conditions (Child Labor Public Education Project, 2014).
According to the International Labor Organization(ILO), child labor is making or allowing a child to be engaged in such economic activity that they are physically, mentally, socially and intellectually too young for. It also includes all forms of slavery, prostitution, illicit activities, using kids for selling drugs etc.
First of all, not any work undertaken by a child should be classified a child labor. For example, children’s and adolescents’ work that does not affect their health, education and personal growth should not be considered as child labor. Thus, helping relatives and making pocket money after the school is totally acceptable as it does not jeopardize child’s physical, mental and moral well-being or educational process. Light work (that does not interfere with education) is permitted from the age of 12 years under ILO Convention number 138. (Unicef.org, 2013) All the considerations and peculiarities of whether to call a “work” child labor or not are set out in the International Labor Organization Conventions.
Most of all child laborers around the globe, which is 53 percent, are located in Asia and the Pacific, 7 percent of children are located in Latin America, and about 30 percent are from Africa (Child Labor Public Education Project, 2014).
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Regardless the fact children are forced to do something against their will or they are working voluntarily to earn some money and help out the family, the most common reason of child labor in the U.S and all over the world is poverty. Inability for the family to earn enough for living causes the situation when children start working from the age of 6 as average employees. Poverty, in its turn, can be also caused by high unemployment rates or as a result of an early death of parents, as most of the governments in underdeveloped country cannot provide proper support and homage for the orphans.
The vast majority of working children and adolescents are engaged into the agriculture sector, especially in the rural areas, where parents force kids to work instead of sending them to school (Unicef.org, 2013). Millions of girls work as domestic servants and unpaid household help and are especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Millions of others work under horrific circumstances. They may be, forced into debt bondage or other forms of slavery, forced into prostitution or pornography or even recruited as child soldiers in local armed conflicts. Up to 15 million children are directly engaged into manufacturing goods, especially in fashion, with many children making textiles and garments to satisfy the demand of consumers in developed regions (Child Labor Public Education Project, 2014).
The eliminating the social issue of child labor is the responsibility of not only the government, but also the parents itself and society in general. Government, for example, should have proper laws to prosecute employers who exploit children. Obligatory school studies and developed educational system also help in saving children from work. The child labor is the responsibility of all the adult citizens who lack of social disapproval of exploiting children. Childhood should be the happiest experience of everyone’s life.
Child Labor Public Education Project. (2014). What is child labor. [online] Available at: www.continuetolearn.uiowa.edu/laborctr/child_labor/about/what_is_child_labor.html [Accessed 23 Jul. 2016].
Labs.theguardian.com. (2016). Child labour in the fashion supply chain. [online] Available at: https://labs.theguardian.com/unicef-child-labour/ [Accessed 23 Jul. 2016].
Unicef.org (2013). Factsheet: Child Labor. [online] Available at: http://www.unicef.org/protection/files/child_labour.pdf [Accessed 23 Jul. 2016].
Haspels, Nelien, and Michele Jankanish. Action against Child Labor. Geneva: International Labor Office, 2000. Print.