Child Labour Essay

1129 words - 5 pages


Can Child Labour ever be justified?

Child labour involves the employment of children in any kind of work that interfere with their personal development and education or cause harm to their health. It became an afflictive social problem during the Industrial Revolution in Britain during the 1700's, and the problem spread to other countries as they became industrialised. Many international organisations such as the UNICEF fight against this malignant practice. Legal establishments across the world prohibit child labour. Child labour seems to be mostly present in developing countries, where about 150 million children between the age of five and fourteen work.

The world community has a very one-sided opinion for child labour. Anyone would say that child labour is intolerable. However, child labour can be quite pervasive for the simple reason that broke households who cannot afford the basic needs may depend on the income of the children for survival. It is likely that the family might not be able to afford the cost of education of their children. Even though education might be free, the parents still have to fend for the uniforms, transport, lunch and stationery. The money gained by the children will definitely improve the living conditions of the family. This is particularly the case in poor African countries where all the members of a family need to work to provide themselves food and shelter.

Despite what people think, child labour can be beneficial in a sense for children. Indeed, working at a young age can help the children build up skills quickly. This acquirement of skills can encourage the children to open their own business later in their adult life. For example in a clothes factory, a child will gradually increase his manual skills and might consider getting employed at a higher standard factory or enterprise as adults. Working as a child can help develop a sense of maturity and responsibility. Additionally, the child will become financially independent and feel valued.

Child labour also contributes a lot to the formation of cottage industries. A cottage industry is where the creation of products and services is homed-based, rather than factory-based. Products and services created by cottage industries are often unique and distinctive given the fact that they are not mass-produced. A farm can be a form of cottage industry; farming societies do need children working to get more work done.

However child labour still mostly remains a troubling practice. Children are exposed at a daily basis to several hazards at their working place. For example, the Human Rights Watch stipulates that child farm workers in the United states- the vast majority of whom are Latino- regularly work 12 to 14 hours per day, often suffer from pesticide poisonings, heat related illnesses, machine and knife-related injuries, and life-long disabilities. The danger exposed to the children becomes even worse if those children...

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