Compare and Constrast Essay on Child labor

This essay has a total of 2209 words and 10 pages.

child labor

CHILD LABOR


Child labor is a serious problem in many parts of the world, especially in developing
countries. It has been linked to many nations and cultures for hundreds of years. Child
labor is defined by Article 32 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: as any
economic exploitation or work that is likely to be hazardous or interferes with the
child's education, or is harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual,
moral, or social development. Labor is defined as a difficult, or fatiguing mental and/or
physical work.


It wasn't until the Industrial Revolution that it became the problem it is today. With the
arrival of the factory system in the 18th century, during the 1700s, children as young as
five were being used as workers in England. During this period, a law called the English
Poor Act gave the government the responsibility to care for children that had no parents
or whose parents were too poor to care for them. Under this law, the government would take
these "pauper children" and place them in jobs where they could become apprentices and
learn a trade.


The law was not usually affective because when children were handed over to the factory
owners and usually became slaves. This is a violation of the "Human Rights Document:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights" in article 4, which states: no one shall be held in
slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Children were used to tend to machines in factories and many worked in the dark, damp
coalmines, carrying coal on their backs up ladders. Many children would work 10 to 15 hour
days. This is a violation of the "Human Rights Document" in article 24, which states:
everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working
hours and periodic holidays with pay. They were forced to work in dangerous and unhealthy
conditions, and their wages were incredibly small. There are many reasons why these
children work; poverty, lack of education, lack of knowledge of one's rights, and cultural
tradition are all contributing factors. These children are often deprived and mistreated.
They may get beaten or severely punished for making even the slightest mistake. This is
another violation of the "Human Rights Document" in article 1, which states: all human
beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and
conscience and should act toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Also in article
3, which states: Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of a person. The
U.S. Congress passed the first federal child labor law in 1916.

The International Labor organization estimates that there are 250 million children
worldwide, between the ages of five and fourteen, who are now working. Africa and Asia
together account for over 90 percent of total child employment. Usually there are no age
requirements for work. By 1890, nearly 20 percent of U.S. children were employed full
time.


In a recent story, a boy named Iqbal Masih, in Pakistan, was forced into child labor as a
carpet weaver and suffered terrible abuse. At the age of four, the boy was sold as an
indentured servant to a factory owner for the equivalent of sixteen dollars. Iqbal's
parents were forced to sell him in order to feed and clothe the rest of their family, a
situation that is extremely common in the poor villages of India. At the factory, Iqbal
would begin work around 6 a.m., working 14- hour days with one 30- minute break for lunch.
The conditions in the factory were very poor with very little lighting and no fresh air.
The children that worked there were not allowed to speak and were often beaten if they
broke the rules or made mistakes. When Iqbal turned 10 years old, he was severely beaten
by the factory owner, and decided to escape and report it to the police. When the police
looked the other way, he was sent back to the factory and was chained to his loom. Some
time later, Iqbal escaped and went to a meeting of the Bonded Labor Liberation Front, an
organization whose goal was to free Pakistan's bonded workers. With help from the
organization, he could be set free and started to attend a school. Child labor is a
violation of the "Human Rights Document" in article 26, which states: Everyone has the
right to an education. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human
personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
It shall promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship among all nations. The ILO, is
in charge of the monitoring of worker's rights by the United Nations.


In the current expanding economy, multinational corporations take advantage of child labor
to keep their prices down. A 1996 ILO study concluded that another reason for the high
amount of children workers is because children are less aware of their rights, less
troublesome, and more willing to take orders without complaining.


The town of Sialkot, Pakistan, is the site of some of the worse child labor practices in
the world. Over 7,500 children under the age of fourteen make surgical instruments like
scalpels and forceps out of metal. They are exposed to harmful metal vapor and extreme
heat that could instantly burn them critically without safety precautions. This is another
violation of the "Human Rights Document" in article 23, which states: everyone has the
right to work, free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to
protection against unemployment. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to
equal pay for equal work. India's Finance Minister stated, "We have laws prohibiting child
labor, but the government has found it's not always possible to enforce them in a country
as large as India."


Major export industries which utilize child labor include hand-knotted carpets, gemstone
polishing, brass and base metal articles, glass, footwear, textiles, silk, and fireworks.
Other industries include, slate mining, furniture making, and food processing.


Annually there are over 200,000 injuries of children in our Nation's workplaces and 100
deaths among our working youth. During the last 5 months of 1997, reporters from the
Associated Press (AP) investigated various workplaces in 16 states and found 165 children
working illegally.


According to the U.S. News & World Report in Malaysia, children have worked up to
seventeen hours on plantations, exposed to insect and snake- bites. In the United Republic
of Tanzania, they pick coffee, inhaling pesticides. In Portugal, children as young as
twelve, are subjected to heavy labor and dangers of the construction industry. In Morocco,
they receive little pay for knotting the strands of luxury carpets for export. In boot
factories, children are forced to sit so close together that they poke each other with
needles; many have lost an eye in this way.


In some countries, ideas about kinds of activities are based on the caste system, which
categorizes people from birth into economic groups ranging from a ruling upper class to a
low class almost as powerless as slaves. In Pakistan, for example, the children with the
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