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Child Labour

Child Labour

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Published by: youses on Jan 25, 2009
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06/16/2009

 
Child Labour 
WHO IS A "CHILD"?
International conventions define children as aged 18 and under.Individual governments may define "child" according to different ages or other criteria.
"Child" and "childhood" are also defined differently by different cultures. A "child" is notnecessarily delineated by a fixed age. Social scientists point out that children’s abilities andmaturities vary so much that defining a child’s maturity by calendar age can be misleading
 .
 
WHAT IS "CHILD LABOuR"?
"Child labor" is, generally speaking, work for children that harms them or exploits them in someway (physically, mentally, morally, or by blocking access to education).
WHERE DO CHILD LABORERS LIVE?
61% in Asia, 32% in Africa, and 7% in Latin America, 1% in US, Canada, Europe and other wealthy nations In Asia, 22% of the workforce is children. In Latin America, 17% of the workforceis children. The proportion of child laborers varies a lot among countries and even regions insidethose countries. See
Child Labour: Targeting the Intolerable,
Geneva, 1998, p. 7; and other ILOpublications."In Africa, one child in three is at work, and in Latin America, one child in five works. In both thesecontinents, only a tiny proportion of child workers are involved in the formal sector and the vastmajority of work is for their families, in homes, in the fields or on the streets." -- Unicef’s 1997State of the World’s Children Report
WHAT CAUSES CHILD LABOR TODAY?
Poverty is widely considered the top reason why children work at inappropriate jobs for their ages. But there are other reasons as well --
not necessarily in this order 
:1.family expectations and traditions2.abuse of the child3.lack of good schools and day care4.lack of other services, such as health care5.public opinion that downplays the risk of early work for children6.uncaring attitudes of employers7.limited choices for women"The parents of child labourers are often unemployed or underemployed, desperate for secureemployment and income. Yet it is their children - more powerless and paid less - who are offeredthe jobs. In other words, says UNICEF, children are employed because they are easier to exploit,"according to the "Roots of Child Labor" in Unicef’s 1997 State of the World’s Children Report.The report also says that international economic trends also have increased child labor in poor countries. "During the 1980s, in many developing countries, government indebtedness, unwiseinternal economic policies and recession resulted in economic crisis. Structural adjustmentprogrammes in many countries accentuated cuts in social spending that have hit the poor disproportionately. " Although structural adjustment programs are being revised to spareeducation from deep cuts, the report says, some countries make such cuts anyway because of their own, local priorities. In many countries public education has deteriorated so much, the reportdeclared, that education itself has become part of the problem — because children work to avoidgoing to school. This conclusion is supported by the work of many social scientists, according toJo Boyden, Birgitta Ling, and William Myers, who conducted a literature search for their 1998book,
What Works for Working Children
(Stockholm: Radda Barnen, Unicef, 1998)
.
 
Children do some types of low-status work, the report adds, because children come from minoritygroups or populations that have long suffered discrimination. " In northern Europe, for example,child labourers are likely to be African or Turkish; in Argentina, many are Bolivian or Paraguayan;in Thailand, many are from Myanmar. An increasingly consumer-oriented culture, spurring thedesire and expectation for consumer goods, can also lead children into work and away fromschool."
Working conditions
More than half of the working children aged 15 to 17 (50.3%) performed all tobacco-related activities during the crop season while the majority of children aged 6 to 14(74.6%) only occasionally performed some tobacco-related tasks. There was littlediscrepancy (10%) between the responses of children and those of adults regarding thechildren’s participation in tobacco-related work on family farms, and the type of activitiesand tasks done. Eight tobacco-related activities in which children were engaged wereidentified. The most common activities carried out by the majority of the working childrenwere picking, curing and marketing of tobacco leaves. The assessment of the workingenvironment and conditions revealed that there were various hazards and risks faced byworking children. The hazards and risks emanated from the nature of the tasksperformed, ranging from simple cuts inflicted by the tools they use to exposure toextreme climatic conditions and to chemicals.Most of the children aged 6 to 14 working on small-scale tobacco farms were not wageearners as they were considered family aids. However, 40.4% of smallholder tobaccogrowers gave a wage to working children aged 15 to 17, and to only 18.2% of childrenaged 6 to 14. The main reasons given by parents for putting their children to work were: “tohelp/increase the work force” (39%) and “to learn” (23%)
CONSEQUENCES FOR CHILDREN
Child labour does more than deprive children of their education and mental and physicaldevelopment - their childhood is stolen.Immature and inexperienced child labourers may be completely unaware of the short and longterm risks involved in their work.Working long hours, child labourers are often denied a basic school education, normal socialinteraction, personal development and emotional support from their family. Beside theseproblems, children face many physical dangers - and death - from forced labour:Long-term health problems, such as respiratory disease, asbestosis and a variety of cancers, arecommon in countries where children are forced to work with dangerous chemicalsHIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are rife among the one million children forcedinto prostitution every year; pregnancy, drug addiction and mental illness are also commonamong child prostitutesExhaustion and malnutrition are a result of underdeveloped children performing heavy manuallabour, working long hours in unbearable conditions and not earning enough to feed themselvesadequately
WHAT ARE SOME SOLUTIONS TO CHILD LABOR?
Not necessarily in this order:1.Increased family incomes2.Education — that helps children learn skills that will help them earn a living3.Social services — that help children and families survive crises, such as disease, or lossof home and shelter 4.Family control of fertility — so that families are not burdened by children

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