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Doe 1 Jane Doe English 101 Research Paper-Final Draft Child Labor: The Great Need for

its Elimination Child labor is a complex international issue and its global reach affects both developed and developing countries, as well as a myriad of different industries. It is an emotionally charged issue that is capable of inciting very strong and adamant supporters on both sides of the debate. A lot of discourse, literature, and research point to the ill economic and social effects of abusive child labor. Because of the overwhelming international furor that the aforementioned literature have caused, varied international agencies and governments have joined together to lay down policies that call for the halt of exploitative child labor. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, abusive child labor still pervades the societies and economies of numerous third world countries, as well as that of the first world. In order to successfully halt the growth and practice of this despicable social and economic custom, it is necessary to understand the issue fully. This can be done through the critical study of child labor history, the evolution of its definition, and its causes and effects. After the careful study and analysis of this multi-faceted issue, successful, systematic and enforceable solutions for the eradication of exploitative child labor can be developed. Since the beginning of humankind, children have been working to help their families raise crops and livestock. Normal families in the old days found it necessary to have as many offspring as possible so that there would be more hands to help with the running of the household and the earning of the family livelihood. As societies became larger and more organized, with many specialized jobs that required greater mastery and assistance, children

manipulated. abused and underpaid. children were easier to manage and control and more importantly. As the old adage goes.Doe 2 began being employed as servants and apprentices. The ease by which child workers could be molded. Walter I. Trattner indicates in his treatise that “the transformation of attitudes about child labor was fueled in part by [the circulation and popularization of] images of children being sucked into the new factories. reformers in Europe and the United States began to attempt instituting laws that seek “to establish a minimum wage . “The enduring photographic images from the turn of the century were of children working in textile factories. contributed to the rise of this type of inhumane labor. that these exploitative practices should be mitigated. seafood packaging. Despite this rise. different kinds of propaganda on varying mediums were circulated throughout society that sought to open people’s eyes to the horror and abuse that child laborers endured in their everyday lives. “Children often worked long hours in dangerous factory conditions for very little money. during at which time the treatment of children grew to be especially exploitative. Ultimately. These photos were instrumental in educating the public to the horrific plight of the abused young laborers. Children were useful as laborers because their size allowed them to move in small spaces in factories or mines where adults could not fit. most often than not with their own desperate parents’ consent. one gut-wrenching and powerful photograph is worth a thousand words. newspaper distribution and other work outside the home” (Bachman 549). Child labor was not viewed as a despicable practice until the onset of the Industrial Revolution. this led to the persuasion of many citizens in the industrial world. children could be paid less than adults” (“Child Labor”). and partly by nascent perceptions that childhood should be a period of play and education instead of work” (qtd. By the nineteenth century. in Bachman 548). some of whom became passionate anti-child labor advocates.

In 2010. and political apathy” (Pasztor. [They identified] 128 export goods from 70 countries where child. “Officials warned that the global economic crises could cause an upswing in the exploitation of children and other workers. McFadden and Otis 612).” (“Child Labor”) but these were not enforced. the United States Labor Department announced the addition of a dozen countries to a list of nations that utilize child/forced labor. market forces. and the International Labor Organization (ILO). Child labor is an economic activity that “is driven by child and family impoverishment. the statistics that were released by ILO in 2001 were still staggeringly alarming: “250 million children. The numbers and data speak for themselves. From that time until the present. as opposed to . there is a great need to stop the ongoing spread of child labor and to eradicate its worst forms. in Pasztor. International organizations such as UNICEF and ILO differentiate between child labor and child work. clearly. . others now defunct) such as the United States Child Labor Committee. It is important to first define child labor. .Doe 3 for labor and minimal requirements for school attendance. McFadden and Otis 612). These numbers are significant in establishing the extent of how much child labor has pervaded the global economy. Despite these efforts. United Nations Emergency Children’s Fund (UNICEF). They accomplished this through the inception of conventions and policies that were backed by national and international organizations (some still present. respectively . ranging in age from 5 to 14 are estimated to be laboring worldwide. there is a larger focus on moneymaking. anti-child labor advocates have coalesced to put some pressure on guilty and corrupt governments. In this activity. forced labor or both are used” ("A Dozen Nations"). [and the] United States have as many as 800. industries and businesses. Approximately 60% and 30% of these laboring children reside on the Asian and African continents.000 children under the age of 18 working as migrant and seasonal farmworkers in California alone” (qtd.

economic. development and protection in society. In particular. “Child work [is defined] as developmental in nature” (Pasztor. while Article 28 details the expectations that all children receive a compulsory and free primary education. political. One of the most important actions by the international organizations is the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989. Because of the connection between child rights and survival and development. UNICEF and ILO are historically involved in determining different policies concerning child labor. Later. social. and . research. and this encompasses activities that only seek to improve and nurture the child’s natural abilities for his or her enrichment. McFadden and Otis 612). Advocates are actively fighting and are most concerned with exploitative and abusive child labor—the worst of its kind. The Convention singly enshrines the full range of civil. such as the minimum age for labor and the naming the worst kinds of child labor. and cultural rights of children necessary to their survival.Doe 4 child learning and maturation. Article 32 recognizes the right of children to be protected from work that threatens their health. by hosting multiple international conventions over the years. in Pasztor. education. or moral development. George defines that child work “refers to adult-guided activities that focus on the child’s growth and enculturation into the families and societies that they are a part [of]” (qtd. virtually all of the Convention’s articles apply to the distressing effects child labor. (Narayan) This Convention single-handedly compiled over a century’s worth of work. this child work definition will be expounded to include productive economic activities that child workers themselves clamor for. McFadden and Otis 612). Article 24 more explicitly recognizes the right of children to enjoy the highest standards of health.

After recognizing this definition. to help countries improve existing national services (for example. In 1999. First. and are usually large-scale operations that employ thousands of employees and also bring in a lot of revenue. forced work and work that endangered a child’s physical. the ILO took a great leap and unanimously called for a convention known as “ILO’s Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention No. prostitution. [which included] slavery and slavery-like work. labor inspection and education) and to help implement interventions in specific industries” (Bachman 550). which sought to actively challenge UN-member countries to observe and adopt its tenets. Before one can delve into this issue. mental or moral well-being [in both short and long term]” (qtd. This is a definite step forward in establishing that the ILO has taken a strong anti-child labor stance and that the organization has taken the child labor threat seriously. the leading causes for the prevalence of these worst forms of child labor that beleaguer society can be recognized. The sole purpose of this program is “to explore policies and programs to reduce child labor. This paper will from here on now adhere to this ILO definition and refer to child labor as the practice of the aforementioned exploitative “worst forms” unless explicitly noted.Doe 5 conclusions drawn by anti-child labor advocates into a cohesive manifesto. statistical measurement. This convention “stressed [the need] for [necessary] immediate action to combat exploitation of children” (Kovasevic 37). . it is necessary to recognize that economics is one main reason for child labor. . The informal . The ILO Convention in 1999 identified “[these] worst forms of child labor . in Bachman 550). Another forwardthinking action by ILO is the founding of the International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) in 1992. The formal economy consists of huge industries that are heavily regulated. 182” (Kovasevic 38) that named and defined the worst forms of child labor. it is imperative to understand the differences between the formal and informal economy.

These factors are the “presence of adult trade unions and the relatively high education. The entire family’s economic contribution is necessary for the family’s survival.” but also augments the pittance of a wage that their parents earn (Becker 15). Clearly. desperate poverty-stricken families have no means but to capitulate to the merchant class who . child labor “is primarily an economic choice which brings significant economic benefits to an unscrupulous and greedy minority of third world elites that take advantage of…[the] economic desperation that many families face” (Tsogas 368).Doe 6 economy is hidden and invisible. but is more practiced and rampant in the informal economies of developing countries. The children’s “meager earnings [not only] help provide basic food and medicine for themselves and younger siblings.” (Bachman 546) as well as “illegitimate industries such as drug trafficking” (Narayan). Unfortunately. it is still a large enough repository of child labor” (Bachman 547). services. Poverty plagues a good number of third-world citizens. the issue of economics can be explored. small-scale manufacturing and other sectors that are hard to monitor. “children can [still] be found in the low-skill. This is one main reason why families opt to engage their young ones immediately into employment as soon as they are able to work. although there are factors that minimize the children’s presence in that arena and end up pushing these child laborers to the mostly uncharted and unmonitored waters of the informal economy. Since the informal economy “makes up from one-third to two-thirds of the economies of developing nations and although it is much smaller in developed countries. With that being said. skill and physical strength demanded by most formalsector employers” (Bachman 546). Now that these have been defined. Exploitative child labor occurs in both the formal and informal economy. low-tech and poorly regulated sectors of the formal economy”(Bachman 545). These are usually “agriculture.

These families’ economic plight is directly related to another cause of child labor prevalence. but at the same time are pressed by the family’s immediate living needs. wherein they are caught between wanting a brighter future for their children. or taking other measures to ensure that they received a greater . In essence. “Children trapped in [these difficult circumstances] fail to obtain the [prerequisite] education necessary to attain higher paying jobs once they [reach adulthood]” (Narayan) which effectively eliminate their chances of breaking this “self-perpetuating cycle of child labor and poverty” (Narayan). Even though parents may want their children to remain in school and receive an education that can improve their future chances. . These working children’s futures. The 1996 ILO Convention documents one such example. Another cause for rampant child labor and the on-going practice of hiring children by informal economy/cottage industry employers is the perceived economic benefit of cheap exploitative child labor to small businesses in developing countries. which is the lack of education and literacy among the poor. and the dearth of opportunities to actually attend school. Reducing child labor in this industry would therefore require either putting these loom owners out of business. and that of their progeny. then become forever tied to the tides of the menial labor market with no hope for escape. [that of Indian] loom owners who hired children [because] . . their margins are so thin that they would go out of business if they suddenly had to hire adults and pay adult salaries. restructuring industry price and sales patterns. Parents are put between a rock and a hard place.Doe 7 ultimately hold the survival of these poor families in their hands. “they cannot afford the luxury of taking them out of the labor market. child labor is the result of a conflict between short-term parental economic interests and the long-term interests of the children” (Becker 15).

. like that of the dime-a-dozen Indian loom owners. these laws remain unenforced by the government. (qtd. Business owners who seek to stay afloat and competitive in a saturated market. Although governments pass legislation that call for the financial support of displaced child laborers.Doe 8 share of the retail price of a carpet. India passes law after law that at first glance seems to deliver great blows against child exploitation and labor. It is almost a joke to all those involved and the policies are therefore not accorded the respect that it deserves. . The abused children who labor in sweatshop conditions have no “incentive and reason to abandon . another cause of rampant child labor is the lack of follow through and funding for the financial support of the affected masses and the proposed alternative anti-child labor programs. see no other choice but to exploit the millions of suffering children and put them to work in the most bleak and despicable conditions. [of] informal sector loom owners. “Current searches and raids do occur sporadically and for short periods. . Similarly. leaving both laborers and employers confident that government vigilance is temporary” (Kovasevic 37). For example. but they are cursory and ineffective. in Bachman 561) This circumstance is all too common in third world countries where the informal economy is more prevalent than the formal business sector. As it turns out. there is a glaring lack of concrete plans that actually stipulate funding and enforcement of rehabilitation and re-education programs for the children and their families. Fear of the price sensitivity of international demand was another reason why . . exporters relied so heavily on the low expenses . Unenforceable national child labor laws are also a main cause of child labor prevalence. The lack of effort by law enforcement clearly shows how uncommitted some developing countries are in upholding the law. Different developing countries have been passing anti-child labor laws that intend to curb abuse.

governments and industries/businesses also drives the practice of exploitative child labor. Ultimately. the aforementioned statistics stand to show that the practice of exploitative child labor. is still very much a part of the social and economic front of many third world countries. Lastly. Aside from the ILO and UN Conventions.Doe 9 their work” due to this lack of support (Kovasevic 38). Despite this seemingly successful international cooperation. It is highly debated whether a “traderelated mechanism that could ultimately lead to trade sanctions” (Tsogas 369) should be utilized . There is a marked disagreement between the members of these international organizations on how to successfully impose trade agreements that call for the inclusion of labor standards. The scarcity of working alternatives leaves destitute families no choice but to “readily accept bribes for labor and [then] employers will devise more effective [and creative] ways to hide their illicit workers” (Kovasevic 38). all these wonderful plans and good intentions are rendered useless in light of the lack of funding. This is due partly to the absence of actual working frameworks and financial support of the international organizations themselves to these third world countries that desperately need their guidance and program funding for the enactment and enforcement of said noble conventions and declarations. An astounding number of nations have ratified ILO and UN conventions that practically seek to denounce and abolish the worst forms of child labor abuse and exploitation. The destitute children and their families return to seeking whatever “illegal” employment they can to make ends meet. the World Trade Organization (WTO) also joins the discourse of both the ILO and UN on the inclusion of labor standards in international trade agreements. which usually include anti-child labor stipulations. although condemned and despised. lack of accountability between international organizations. “Such cooperation is evidence of a vital international consensus on immediate action against child labor” (Kovasevic 38).

It is true that when children are allowed to work. but it is entirely likely that work. help to enhance their self-confidence and prepare them to play a responsible and meaningful role in their societies” (Liebel 265). Regardless. Self-organizing children in Latin America take this to another level as they come together to create their own labor unionlike groups. both its positive and negative effects can now be explored. the work itself is less likely to be less detrimental and possibly beneficial to the individual child” (qtd. in Bachman 554). under capable adult guidance and in reasonable and non-abusive circumstances can “contribute to their development. Manfred Liebel details how these groups refer back to the adult-sanctioned rights in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Different researchers have done corroborating research on this topic. there has been a failure to bring at-risk child labor. also suggests that “if a child feels he or she is learning from work. such as the right to work. ILO)” (Tsogas 369) should be practiced. wherein they seek to supplement these rights with their own positions and demands. Jo Boyden’s report. they are immediately placed in a possible endangering situation.practicing countries to task through this manner. and this failure is definitely hindering these countries from being accountable for their actions in regards to the halting of exploitative child labor within their borders. In his journal article.Doe 10 or if “moral suasion (i.e. According to a working children’s . After the enumeration of the main causes of child labor pervasiveness in society. The Impact of Children’s Activities (Work and School) on their Well-Being and Development. He explains that these children deem themselves competent enough to “design their lives themselves” (Liebel 266) and contribute to their societies. and that a limited amount of work may actually be beneficial for children” (qtd. Christopher Heady’s paper on The Effects of Child Work on Educational Achievement presents “studies [that] show [how] poor schooling can actually be detrimental to a child’s development. in Bachman 554).

these coalitions of working children around the world demand control over their own destinies. these children aim to be “protagonists of [their own] life story” as opposed to being passive “social subjects” (qtd. in Liebel 267).Doe 11 organization of Latin America and the Caribbean’s statement that Liebel includes in his article. Clearly. these children formally stated at the first world meeting of children workers in India in 1996 that they yearn to be accorded the requisite “respect and security for [themselves] and the work that [they] do” in their societies (qtd. Christopher Heady’s article on The Effect of Child Labor on Learning Achievement points out that “poor health is a serious negative consequence of child labor. These children also desire to end discrimination and marginalization against them and their organizations. social and economic effects are too detrimental to ignore. in Rosati et al. 271). the negative health. which correspond to the rise in international organization support for the anti-child labor cause at around the same time. representing a missed opportunity to enhance the productivity and future earnings of the future generation” (qtd. The research on the correlation of exploitative child labor to that of child laborers’ health has only been around in the past three decades or so. and believe themselves to be deserving of equal stature to policy-making adults in terms of child labor mandates and positions. This serious negative consequence of child labor is particularly alarming since it is one that directly affects the chances of child laborers and their future offspring to fight this bleak fate. in Liebel 267). it is clear that “identifying the health effects of child labor is essential . in Liebel 266). even though there are positive effects of child work under certain circumstances. A lot of this research has been limited in scope due to the many variables present in the child labor and health studies. Aside from the right to work. so that “[they will] have time for education and leisure” (qtd. Undoubtedly. Despite this obstacle. They pointed out that they want humane working conditions.

abusive child labor practices. quarrying. Narayan’s article indicates that “many forms of child labor thrust children into jobs that are as unsafe for children as they are for adults. and adequate clothing. and Moore’s articles reveal that “low school attendance . shelter. 271). agriculture. . another negative effect of child labor is its perpetuating of the vicious poverty cycle among the poor.Doe 12 because it enables [the international organizations’] policymakers to decide which types of child labor to target for eradication” (Rosati et al. place children in the most dangerous conditions imaginable. such as that denounced by the UN and ILO. Galli’s. . This becomes more marked in developing countries where there are only a few elites who actually benefit from the industries’ revenues. Unquestionably. undoubtedly driven by the desperation to afford the basic necessities such as food. Aside from these terrible health burdens. As mentioned before. effectively widening the gap in terms of wealth and educational opportunities. Graitcer and Lerer emphatically argue that “a child’s exposure to poor working conditions and health hazards may result in health consequences much later in life” (qtd. . Marcus. 274). and Harper. How can children be expected to successfully function and develop into contributing healthy adults in an environment where adults themselves are not safe? Finally. The data presented by past studies is so important in creating the different convention frameworks and policies that govern how child labor is viewed and treated globally. and abusive domestic work wherein they develop numerous physical and psychological traumas. This continues to increase the disparity between the economic classes. Since there are no successful large-scale educational and economic mechanisms and programs set up to alleviate the poor’s burden.” such as mining. prostitution. The families’ visions for their future are very narrow-minded. in Rosati et al. there is a lack of opportunities for the affected masses to break free of this cycle. this desperation drives parents to put their young ones into employment as opposed to attending school.

This study leads one to deduce that a combination of the different solutions and proposals mentioned in the various journal articles and papers will be necessary for the development of successful. many other less developed nations typically spend disproportionally on programs that benefit . but also the chances of their future children and families as well. and get regular medical checkups” are paid $25 by the government every month . “Mothers whose children attend classes regularly. The aforementioned abuses of poor child laborers do not only cripple their health and rob them of their chances to develop in every possible way. in Rosati et al. First. . To combat the excuse that poverty prevents destitute families from sending their children to school. Progresa gives parents a financial incentive to allow their children to attend school. . a clearer picture is presented to the reader. poverty and child labor is passed from generation to generation” (qtd. . even before asking for international aid from the World Bank. it is necessary to find ways to finance these programs within national budgets. In this way. belonging to the bottom economic class that will not be able to rouse themselves from their hopeless plight. ILO and UNICEF. and studying the current child labor discourse and the different proposals of leading researchers. it would be a great idea to institute the already successful Mexican program Progresa in countries that have high instances of exploitative child labor. Diverting some of these funds for educational. analyzing its many facets. “A good start would be to recognize that . . succeed in getting promoted. creating a series of broken generations. health. systematic and enforceable solutions for the eradication of exploitative child labor. 271). as a result their offspring will also be compelled to work to supplement the family’s income. After delving deeper into the child labor issue. and economic programs “would reduce inequality and stimulate faster economic growth” (Becker 15).Doe 13 [causes] child laborers [to] grow up to be low wage-earning adults. the elites” (Becker 15).

that their agreement is always sought and that they are supported in being able to influence the decisions of adults in their immediate and wider environment. This can be achieved through the better synthesis and acceptance of WTO. “[This can] endeavor to…help . . should be developed that can successfully integrate monitored and regulated apprenticeships with the basic educational standards of reading. This allows “willing” children to have a mixed curriculum of both specialized training and basic education. and mathematics. [They should be assured that] actions . This is proof that Progresa can also be successful in the large scale in other regions and countries. This can include . (Liebel 269) Alternative work patterns. [The children should be guaranteed] that nothing will be decided over their heads. must contribute to influence the living and working conditions of children directly. .Doe 14 (Becker 15). ILO and UNICEF-approved trade agreements that include social clauses and provisions for fair labor practice that include the end of exploitative child labor practice. . Another solution would be to take into account the desire of children to work and learn a trade. . it is also important to propose solutions directed at the global and national economic level. and the creation of alternative work patterns in which children can co-operate and act in self-determination. as proposed above by Liebel. Finally. This payment is already a large percentage of a poor family’s monthly income. remarkable headway in the education of the poor children in this program was made. which can be a major incentive for complying with the program. “Progresa [also] tries to combat [the] tendency of poor families to favor education of older sons by paying a little more to families that keep teenage daughters enrolled” (Becker 15). In just a few years. writing. the improvement of working conditions. especially those who have taken the time to self organize to fight for this right.

15 Dec. “Making the public aware of [this problem] helps promote efforts to combat child labor” ("A Dozen Nations") and also enflames potential advocates who can join the fight to end this troubling economic and social dilemma. Bachman. SIRS Issues Researcher. the multi-faceted practice of child labor is better understood. so that collective bargaining and labor legislation at the national level can actually lead to higher standards of living for all” (Tsogas 371). Forced Labor List. 2011. Daily Texan. "A New Economics Of Child Labor: Searching For Answers Behind The . S. the evolution of its definition. These are lofty and idealistic goals. Web. and its causes and effects." Daily Texan. fair labor and anti-child labor advocates must rise to the challenge and continue the fight to rid society of this social and economic blight. 17 Oct. By critically analyzing child labor history. Works Cited "A Dozen Nations Added to Child.L.Doe 15 workers redistribute the wealth created by transnational capital [as well as] create an enabling framework at the international level. a main obstacle will be trying to get all member countries of these international organizations to join forces and take an active stand against the unjust labor practices by agreeing to actually work on implementing these proposals as soon as possible. Despite the harsh reality that these goals may be too ambitious to truly enact. systematic and enforceable solutions that can eradicate exploitative child labor come forth. 2010: n.p. Undoubtedly. Only through this understanding can successful.

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