Child labor is a grave issue facing the entire world. An estimated 168 million children aged 5–17 worldwide, were involved in child labor in 2013 (Khakshour et al. ).As economies and firms stay locked in a cut-throat battle to achieve success and maximize profits, innocent children are coerced to pay the price.Why? These innocent souls provide a cheaper and more productive option of a workforce compared to adults and can help firms maximize their productivity while also cutting back on cost.According to the ILO, child labor is defined as “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development”.
Child labor must be acknowledged as a fundamentally serious problem and must be dealt with promptly and effectively because these children are firstly deprived of education and hence the right to make the best for their themselves; furthermore, they are subjected to sexual abuse as has been witnessed in various cases, robbing the essence of childhood and the mental, as well as physical health of these children, keeps on deteriorating, making them unable to cope with the challenges of the modern world.
To elaborate on the first point, children coerced into child labor are denied the fundamental, rather basic right to education which is enshrined in the UN charter. Child labor is an “unmitigated evil” (The Economist) As these kids are denied the right to basic education, we cannot expect them to compete with the children who go through the rigorous academic system that has been developed globally along the lines of providing the market with the skilled labor force.
However, since these children will never get the education that the modern world promises, then the opportunities that the modern world promises remains inaccessible them to them as well and they will never be able to land jobs which will take them out of the systematic poverty that the down trodden of the post industrial age are subjected to and in the greater picture the divide between the rich and the poor will keep on increase and hence one eventually comes to the realization that with the plague of child labor the whole idea of “meritocracy” and the job market being a leveled field for all in terms of opportunity is simply a myth, so to speak.
Child laborers are also frequently subjected to sexual abuse which is another violation of a fundamental human right of consent. There are various examples of children being subjected to sexual exploitation by their employers which actually makes one realize that the relationship between the employee and the employer in terms of child labor is more like an example of modern day slavery. The bacha bazi culture rampant in Afghanistan is a prominent example in this case where young boys are made to dance in order to appease their employers. This custom is sickening to the core and the sad part is that there has been no effective legislative measure to get rid of this toxic cultural disaster. In terms of Pakistan, there are many cases of child laborers subjected to sexual abuse, most unreported of course.
However, one must be very cognizant of the fact that these children are physically abused more that often along with sexual slavery and in terms of Pakistan, instances that prove this point are more than enough. Forced beggary that many child laborers are subjected to is a prime example because in order to invoke emotion from the people many of these children are deliberately maimed which are downright cruel. Domestic servitude which is rampant in Pakistan is also a considerably important example in this case because the treatment of child servants by their “bajis” and “sahbs” as they are called are in some cases too gruesome to even read about. Hence domestic violence is “the main cause of children workers’ deaths” (Dawn).
Children subjected to child labor are denied the right to live a cheerful and content life. They are away from their families. According to an article on the CNN website, African countries Eritrea, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo lead the way in child labor (Hunt). Child labor effectively ruins the childhood of the child and because they are constantly subjected to physical as well as sexual abuse it’s no surprise that their mental and physical health keeps on deteriorating. To quote global examples, chocolate slavery in the ivory coast is an extreme example of coercion and to analyze the effects that it can have on the health of the children then really becomes no rocket science when the harsh and rather inhuman conditions that these children are subjected to are taken into account.
Amnesty International has accused Apple, Samsung and other companies of “not checking whether the materials used in its batteries are mined using child labor” (The Business Insider).Furthermore, the shrine slavery in West Africa that many child laborers are subjected to is another example of the various ways these kids are exploited and more so on a global scope. Gold mining in South Africa and the Americas which is “extremely dangerous work for children” (International Labour Organisation) further adds to the deterioration of the physical health of these children and it is easy for one to come to the conclusion that this is mere exploitation which is completely unwarranted.
However,” despite the extensive literature on the determinants of child labor, the evidence on the consequences of child labor on outcomes such as education, labor, and health is limited” (…One of the arguments in support of child labor is that these kids add to the economic welfare of their families as most of the families that send their children to such a form of employment are low income families and will do anything to make their ends meet as most states do not take responsibility for these children and one really cannot blame the low-income families for such decisions because they are trapped in a systematic poverty and their will to escape from such a fate by way of their children isn’t something that one can morally police these families for.
However, one must understand that all these arguments merely make one understand as to why child labor is practices but even with these arguments one cannot possibly deny that these arguments accept the fact that child labor is a social evil and cannot really be characterized in any other way and if the modern world is real to see itself in an objective light than the reality of this social evil must be accepted and if one is to believe all that the modern world promises in the age of the individual all these questions must be addressed or the only other option is the way of the cynic.
Conclusively, it is an established fact that child labor is a social evil which is totally unwarranted and one must keep in consideration that it is fundamentally a stain of the modern world’s projection of a free and fair world. The ideas that child labor denies the fundamental right to education, exploit children sexually and physically and leads to irreversible damage to the child’s physical and mental health are indisputably true and can be thought of as the bitter reality of our time, therefore, this paper ends with propagating the idea that this social ill must be terminated at all costs because with presence of such an illness how exactly can one call him/herself a human and claim to possess moral values which claim to guarantee freedom of choice for all. The inherent paradoxes of the modern world can be resolved by seriously addressing the issues fueling the paradox.
Hunt, Katie. “The 10 Worst Countries for Child Labor.” CNN. Cable News Network, 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.
“‘Domestic Violence Main Cause of Child Workers’ Death’.”DAWN.COM. DAWN, 21 Jan. 2014. Web. 8 Mar. 2017.
Beegle, Kathleen, Rajeev Dehejia And, and Roberta Gatti. “Kathleen Beegle.”Http://jhr.uwpress.org/content/44/4/871.refs#cited-by. The Journal of Human Resources, 2 Oct. 2009. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.
Khakshour, Ali, Maryam Ajilian Abbasi, Sayed Javad Seyedi, Masumeh Saeidi, and Hasan Khodaee. “Child Labor Facts in the Worldwide: A Review Article.” Child Labor Facts in the Worldwide: A Review Article (n.d.): n. pag.Http://ijp.mums.ac.ir/article_3946_3acc6da362d5cc6e83c148da023d82e4.pdf. International Journal of Paediatrics, Feb. 2015. Web. 5 Mar. 2017
“After the Children Went to School.” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 08 Apr. 2000. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.
“Learn More about Child Labour in Mining (IPEC).” Learn More about Child Labour in Mining
(IPEC). International Labour Organisation, June 2006. Web. 9 Mar. 2017.
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