Child Labor- A Worldwide Issue

Children are considered as the greatest gift of God to humanity. It is an important stage in the development of human as it holds the future potential for the society development.The environment in which children are brought up is conducive to their physical and social health, to make them responsible and members of society. Also, the nation sees its future in the presence of children in the present scenario.When children are performing work at a very young age , children are reducing their welfare or prospect of their income earning in the future by either reducing their next set of external choices or by loosing upon on their future productive capabilities. Children under extreme financial distress, are often forced to let go educational opportunities and are made to take up jobs that are exploitative because they are usually not paid and are made to work in hazardous conditions.

International Labor Organization Conventions 138 (1973) and 182 (1999) has defined child Laborers as children who are younger than 12 years and are taking part in any economic activity, also children of 12–14 the of age are engaged in light work, and children involved in child labor where they are enslaved, prostituted, trafficked,forcibly recruited or forced into illegal activities.
The Rights of the Child (1989) has called for the right of children to be protected against economic exploitation, participation in any work which will be hazardous and will interfere with their education, and will be harmful to their health including their physical, social, moral and mental development.

Child labor in simple terms is the employment of children that deprives them of their childhood and makes them not to attend school regularly and which will be mentally, socially, physically harmful and dangerous. It is considered as an exploitative act by various international organizations, and various Legislations all around the world prohibits this practice of child labor. Though laws does not consider every work done by children as child labor there are exceptions that include work done by child artists and other supervised training.

According to reports, there were 218 million of children who were engaged in child labor in 2004. Around 126 million of them in age group of 5–17 were believed to be involved in hazardous work.According to estimates, these children represent 40–50 % to be forced labor. Children working in homes of people are in extremely vulnerable situation that causes exploitation and abuse. It has been estimated by the ILO that girls under the age 16 are more engaged in domestic service as compared to other work.Girls are often sent to work rather than going to school.Community understanding and parental support regarding the education benefits, and social disapproval of exploitation by employers, will be helpful in diminishing this hazard.

Poverty is considered as both a cause and consequence of child labor that exploits nation’s human capital. The firm effect on school attendance rates are there because of child labor, the length of each work day is found negatively associated with child’s capacity for attending school. Child labor has NIL the right of children to be benefitted from education, and it denies child’s opportunity to go to school. Thus, child labor forgoes children’s education, and it affects their health adversely and has an impact on their safety. Also, child workers are objects of exploitation in terms of working long hours for minimal pay. Work conditions are often severe, not providing them with proper development both, physical and mental. Many children are living life of pure deprivation.

Child labor is found to be mostly concentrated in Africa and Asia, they together make up for 90 percent of the total child employment.More child workers are there in Asia as compared to anywhere else, also many African children are participating in the labor force. India being part of Asia account for 44 million of child laborers, which means the world’s largest child workforce.According to reports, Pakistan has 10 percent of workers in between the age group of 10 and 14 years. Nigeria account for 12 million of working children. It is also very common in South America. Like,7 million children are there who are working in Brazil.

It is the lack of adequate labor restrictions that perpetuates child labor that is being manifested in various ways. Also, number of enforceable officials is found to be very low, particularly in developing countries there, the immediate subsistence priority takes precedence rather than anything. Inconsistencies in legislation also pose serious problems.

The most significant way or means of drawing away children from such labor market is school that provides guidance and various opportunities for children to understand what role they have in society. There should be provision for making schools free. Also, food supplements should be served in these schools. This might be viewed as valuable nutrition by parents, and therefore they might keep their child in school. Also, quality of education should be improved to make schooling an important factor inchild’s success. After introduction of all such substitutes, school attendance will be able to increase.

Education and employment are not mutually exclusive which is another problem associated with the abolition of child labor. Many children are there who have to work so that they can go to school or they would be not able to afford tuition and various fees that are associated with education, the fact of child labor and education working together is found underscored by this.School hours should be flexible so that they can accommodate needs of children who are working.There are non-formal education programs which prepare child laborers to return to full-time education. Also, it provides skills to get a productive adulthood.
Social programs should be there to support families and to help them in finding alternative income generation method to replace child’s employment.

Also, civil society along with media can change Attitudes that reject and opposes child labor. Laws and regulations to prevent child labor should be placed and enforced rigorously by governments