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The Small Hands of Sorrow
“Child labor is the result of a complex set of factors; poverty; lack of schools; poor health care; war; and many others. Too often, photographs of child laborers do not describe these complexities; solutions must meet the needs of individual children. We need to know who they are to know what they need.” That was part of the mission statement stated by the Child Labor and Global Village Foundation. The Child Labor and Global Village Foundation is a team of eleven photographers who photograph eleven child workers around the globe. Child labor is a major issue for America and other countries. Closer analysis can uncover what child labor is, who the child laborers are and what they do, and what one can do to aid these children in despair.
Child labor is work children do that harms them whether physically, mentally, morally, or by blocking their access to education. Child labor is mostly identified as when a child is working and he/she has not yet reached the age of 18 years of age, while others say that child who is working before the age of 14-15 is a child laborer. The worst form of child labor include all forms of child slavery such as trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced compulsory labor, also including forced compulsory recruitment of children into army for use as ground soldiers, children sold for prostitution and production of pornography, and use of children in illegal activities such as selling drugs. The only thing that makes child labor objectionable is if it is exploitative. To exploit has really three different meanings but in this case it means to make use of selfishly or unethically. An example of exploitation would be when a child does work to be independent but does not get paid for it. When children are exploited like that it is believed to be child abuse and America and other countries don’t agree with that.
There is an estimated 50 million child workers, between ages of five to fourteen, working part time and or full time. Most of them work in agriculture. Sixty-one percent of these are in Asia, thirty-two percent are in Africa, seven percent in Latin America, and one percent in North America, Canada, and Europe. Conditions of child labor are from four years old tied to rug looms to keep from running away to seventeen-years-old helping out on the family terms. Bondage Child Labor is where family sells their sons or daughter to employer’s usually five dollars if converted to American dollars. While they work the workplace is structured so that expenses and interest are deducted from children’s earnings that the child cannot pay off, nor can families raise enough money to buy them back. Child Labor triggers emotions around the globe because the children are so young and their work is so cruel it tends to be very disturbing.
Numerous children work in jobs that are hazardous and dangerous. Children in child labor are found in mines, making sporting goods and garments, in factories making glass bangles, matches and fireworks, carpet looms, tanning leather, breaking stones in quarries, working as street vendors and porters, polishing surgical instruments, making bricks, working on garbage dumps, forced in to prostitution, and hidden away as domestic servants. Although child labor has been a major asset to third world countries, but recently has declined over the years. The causes of that are economic development that raised family incomes and living standards, education has become more affordable and families learn the great importance of education, and more importantly enforcement of anti-child labor laws. One example of anti-child labor laws is the ILO (International Labor Organization) Convention No. 18. The convention calls on ratifying states to “take immediate and effective measures to prohibit and eliminate all worst forms of child labor.” Another good anti-child labor law is the Smith Anti-Child Labor Bill, which would increase the authorized level of the United States contribution to the International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) from $10 million per fiscal year for five years, to $40 million per fiscal year for five years. The IPEC helps countries seeking assistance with their child labor problems.
If we are not victims of child labor or associated in it some way or another why bother? Well because children in hazardous and dangers jobs are in danger of injury and even death! And like the Child Labor and Global Village Foundation said, “Children of today and to the year 2000, are mostly going to be new workers. Citizens and new consumers whose skills will build the world’s economy and society will actually come from developing countries.” That is estimated to be around 70 million children in that time period and more than 0 percent will be from those developing countries. If you really do care then you should learn more about child labor. Support organizations in raising awareness, and providing direct help to individual children. You can also help to educate children in skills that will help them become independent and earn a living, do social services by helping children or families survive crises, such as disease, or loss of their home or shelter, and also help educate third world countries about family control of fertility so that families are not burdened by children or that the children are not burdened by the incompetent families. You can help America and other countries defeat this issue or you can fight against it, it is up to you.
Child labor is such a big issue around the world. One can now deduce what child labor is, who the child laborers are and what they do, and what we “fortunate” people can do to help, you have enough knowledge to know why it’s a huge problem in our world that needs quick resolving.
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