Problems with Child Labor – Term Paper

Child labor essay

Children have been involved in family based errands for all of imaginable human history. Nonetheless, at the wake of the 19th century when massive industrial expansion was taking place and many families moving to urban centers, people had to seek work to survive. This momentous change saw the first major wave of children seeking wage employment to survive or rake income to support themselves. During the time, child labor was not a major concern because mercantilist ideologies had a ruthless and exploitative imperial stance about labor. Through the 19th century and 20th century Britain and America, child labor became a social crisis. Child labor refers to the deliberate employment of children in activities that interfere with their normal schooling, that is mentally and socially harmful to their development and that is exploitative.

Thesis Statement

  Some of the best ways to address child labor is through legislations that ensure all children access mandatory basic schooling up to the age of 16, ensuring effective parenting and empowerment of the children about their rights and privileges. 

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Essay on child labor 

Child labor is mostly promoted by poverty as a supply side economic prerogative. On the demand side, incidences of child labor are exacerbated when there is poor enforcement of legislations that protect children. There has been intensive progress on the part of governments to exercise the relevant legislations that support children rights. Nevertheless, there is still much to be done. The geography of child labor is even more revealing. Whenever poverty is heightened and means of livelihood exceed family’s stretched resources for sustenance, there is often the pressure among children to seek employment to meet basic needs of feeding, clothing and acceptability within the household. Nonetheless, homeless parents also contribute to the surge of destitute children in cities who have to find employment to survive. 

Children under the age of 16 are regarded as vulnerable in key physical and mental capacity to sustain meaningful employment. In 2008, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that 153 million children were involved in exploitative labor worldwide. Out of this number, more that 60% were in the agricultural industries and the rest were in mines, factory work and some home based processing industries. The highest ranked risked nations for child labor globally according to a 2012 survey are Myanmar, North Korea, Somali and Sudan. These countries have insecurity as a national experience, they have dictatorships other than democratic leaders and the rule of law is weakly implemented (Rosenthal & Hawkins 230). The efforts to address child labor should make a priority of ensuring state stability, democratization, the advancement of the rule of law and adequate security for the citizenry. The trend of child labor is even more pronounced recently as a result massive outsourcing of labor to poor nations. Global interconnectedness has come with opportunities as well as challenges.

A key legislative tool is the fight against child labor at the global level is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which many nations are chartered to. In the contemporary scene, many nations across the globe have laws that seek to protect children from the risk of child labor. Much more needs to be done through collaborated efforts by Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), civil society groups, households and multinationals having global operations. It is only through a concerted effort that the war against child labor can be won because apart from the exposure to child labor a more sinister crime of human trafficking also target vulnerable children. The vulnerability of children is a matter than should be addressed swiftly with extensive intelligence operations and extensive policing. Persons involved in child labor are corrupt; they use violence against children and can extend their abusive operations on children because of their vulnerability. 

In India and Brazil, diverse methods have been tried and there is considerable success. These nations use child empowerment through the education system to teach them their rights and indulge in extended campaigns against child labor (Nogler & Pertile 44). Between England and the United States, there are limited futuristic trends of child labor because of the use of extensive legislations and policing. Among developing nations and those worst hit by civil strife, insecurity and high incidences of absolute poverty, progress shall come slowly. Demographic changes in many societies is a major challenge for government planning and social welfare and such nations need to rapidly upgrade their governance mechanisms to address the question of child exploitation, human trafficking which affects vulnerable children and slavery in its diverse forms.  


 Child labor adversely affects the development of children as well as deprives them vital opportunity to undertake schooling. Schooling is the only way to extract children from exploitation so that they can be effectively taught to prepare for careers and professional lives that are satisfying and fulfilling. Intense efforts have been done to attain this goal but the challenges of corruption or poverty or poor legislative functions cannot be wished away in the short run. According to ILO, the minimum age convention and the minimum wage legislations shall make greater impact as governments move forward with ratification schedules.    

Works Cited

Nogler, Luca, and Marco Pertile. Child labour in a globalized world: a legal analysis of ILO action. Routledge, 2016. Print.

Rosenthal, Paul C., and Anne E. Hawkins. “Confronting Child Labor in Global Agricultural Supply Chains: Applying the Law of Child Labor in Agricultural Supply Chains: A Realistic Approach.” UC Davis J. Int’l L. ; Pol’y 21 (2015): 157-279.