Child labor affecting human society

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Child Labor is all over the world and has been affecting human society through its problematic developing issues. Children have not been receiving the education and leisure which is important for their future. Many children have been consumed into commercial and laborious activities in which was not made for them but for people beyond their years. Child labor must stop, and through this essay I will instruct you how you could help.

  1. Four myths about Child labor
  2. State and Federal Labor Laws
  3. a) FLSA

  4. International Labor Laws
  5. a) ILAB

    b) ILO

  6. Child Labor Today
  7. a) Wal-mart

    b) Nike

  8. Measures to prevent Child labor

“Hazardous child labor is a betrayal of every child's rights as a human being and is an offense against our civilization,” says UNICEF in The State of the World's Children 1997. The development needs of growing children can only be provided for, by stopping the onerous practice of child labor in organized and non organized sectors with utmost sincerity. This is the only way a nation can train its children to be wholesome future citizens, who are happy and prosperous. The provision of equal and proper opportunities for the educational needs of growing children in accordance with constitutional directives will go a long way in stopping the evil practice of child labor.


Bellamy, Carol, dir. “The State of the world's children.” UNICEF the State of the world's children.

N.P., 1997. Web. 16 Mar. 2010. <>.

“Causes: Businesses.” The Path of Innocence. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. <;.

“Child Labour Today.” Child Labor. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2010. <>.

Solis, Hilda L. “Youth and Labor.&fdquo; United States Department of Labor. N.P., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2010. <>.

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. “Wal-mart and Child labor.” Wake-Up Wal-Mart. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2010.< & Child Labor>.

     Child labor is defined as using children below a certain age for employment, which according to law it is illegal. The predetermined age fluctuates from government to government as well as from country to country. Child labor is considered to be exploitative and inhuman by many worldwide organizations, although it is a world phenomenon. Any work that is done by a child under the age specified by law is identified as child labor. A child who is employed in order to feed themselves and/or family is subjected to child labor, and is hazardous to the child's mental, social, physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual development. (Child Labour Today) Child labor must stop, and through this essay I will instruct you how you could help.

     The recent awareness in child labor has been based upon four key myths, according to the report, by UNICEF's Executive Director, Carol Bellamy. The first myth is that child labor has been a unique developing problem in the world. In actual fact, children have been consistently working in industrialized countries. For example in the US, children are employed in agriculture, most in which are immigrants or ethnic minority families. According to a survey done in 1990 of Mexican-American children, approximately half had worked in fields with pesticides in farms of New York.

     The second myth states, that child labor will by no means be abolished until poverty disappears. The world will always have the sick, the healthy, the rich, and the poor. Child labor cannot wait for poverty reduction. Governments have begun to move on the issue, understanding that they have to uphold a commitment in which they assumed in passing the Convention on the Rights of the Children. At a local front, non-governmental organizations and activists are investigating new inventive ways to remove children from risky work situations.

     The third myth is that most child workers are functioning in sweatshops of industries exporting inexpensive goods to rich companies all over the world. Many child workers can be found selling on the street, concealed away in houses or at work in agriculture. The reason for these unofficial areas is so that they would be far from contact of official labor inspectors and from media scrutiny.

     The last myth, myth four is that through sanctions and boycotts, consumers and governments can make progress against child labor. Despite the fact that international commitment and pressure are important, boycotts can only affect export sectors, which are fairly small exploiters of child labor. These direct measures can essentially cause harm rather than help the children involved in the long term.

     The causes of child labor in today's society are the same as it was in the United States a hundred years ago. Insufficient enforcement of child labor laws and biased prohibition of child labor was mainly due to poverty, lack of education and exposure, suppression of workers' rights, and poor access to education. (Child Labour Today) Our children do not deserve to have their rights stripped away from them and be consumed by industries and corporations to perform their dirty work for less. Children should be free from the worries of parental and adulthood responsibilities.

     Federal Child Labor rules were established by the Fair Labor Standards Act or the FLSA, to create minimum wage, recordkeeping, overtime pay, and affects full and part time workers in the federal, state, and local governments, in addition to, the private regions. Employers must fulfill both federal law and applicable state laws dealing with child labor issues. The child labor law, was passed by the Federal Government, this law limits children on what job positions they can seize and when to work. For example, adolescences employed for non-agricultural employment must be no less than fourteen. (Solis, Youth and Labor) These days both federal and state laws regulate child labor in the United States. The federal laws are in action to forbid harsh child labor and state laws will relate when the corporation is not involved in interstate business. (Rights: Laws, The Path of Innocence)

     The department of labor and other federal government organizations support numerous efforts to end abusive child labor overseas. A program created in 1993, in response to a Congressional demand to inspect and report on abusive child labor around the world led to the department's Bureau of International Labor Affair's (ILAB). The International Child Labor Program's efforts and actions consist of research and reporting on directing grants to institutes engaged in efforts to abolish child labor, international child labor, and working to increase public attentiveness and understanding of the child labor issue. (Solis, Youth and Labor)

     Reformers in no way discontinue developing laws to defend children. They carry on finding new ways to construct fairness in the life of children everywhere. In 1919, the Minimum Age Convention Number 5 of the Geneva based International Labor Organization (ILO) altered several aspects of child labor. This convention recognized the minimum age for children to be employed in the work force to be fourteen years of age. (Rights: Laws, The Path of Innocence) According to the information agreed by ILO there are approximately about 218 million children between the age of 5 and 17 working all over the world. The United Nations and ILO considered child labor as exploitative. In article 32 of the UN speaks out about child labor in this manner, 'States parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development.' (Child Labour Today)

     In the United States, it is most doubtful that businesses are able to open sweatshops due to all the strict laws and educated people. Thus, leads to third world countries, which are unable to provide neither monetary support nor federally funded benefits. Therefore, the only solution to this epidemic is to allow children to work to support their families or to starve. (Causes: Businesses, The Path of Innocence) Two examples in which major companies used and abused child labor are: Wal-mart and Nike.

     Wal-mart is a major company in the United States operating thousands of stores all over the globe. In January 2005, in 24 separate incidents Wal-mart repeatedly broke child labor laws. Wal-mart however, agreed to pay $135,540 for breaking child labor violations and was also fined $205,650 for 1,436 violations of child labor laws solely in Maine between 1995 and 1998. Nevertheless, Wal-mart continues to break child labor laws. June of 2005, despite the internal audit warning, in three Wal-mart stores in the state of Connecticut there was 11 violations of child labor. (Wal-mart and Child labor, Wake-up Wal-mart) Wal-mart operates sweatshops in China, Nicaragua, and Saipan where most of the clothes are sold in their stores and manufactured there. The workers in the stores are paid twelve cents and work for ten hours a day and seven days a week. Children are often hungry and dehydrated; they are often strip searched for food or water being brought in to prevent the children from soiling the clothes. Wal-mart has been warned several times, but yet they still persist.

     Nike is another major corporation and is worth about four billion dollars. They contain factories in places such as South Korea, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand. These places are where they employ there workers, as well as children for twelve hour shifts and pay them as low as sixteen cents an hour. The work conditions in these countries are noisy, unsanitary, unsafe, injurious, and very strict. Many people have broken fingers, lost limbs, fainted, and contracted varies infections, some people have even died. While working, the employees have a strict set of rules in which they must follow, failed to do so the consequences are severe and consist of verbal or physical abuse and/or being fired. (Causes: Businesses, The Path of Innocence)

     The future belongs to the well being of its children. The health of our nation and the nation of others becomes vital to protect its children from premature labor. It starts with saving children from the murderous clutches of social injustice and educational deprivation. To ensure all children that they are given the opportunity for a healthy, happy, and normal life.

     In order to ensure children an education and eradicate the abuse of child labor the central and state governments to prevent the threat of child labor, must be given top priority in devoting to the child welfare issues. On all levels, child labor laws must be executed rigorously and corruption and carelessness in child labor offices and employee circles ought to be dealt with sternly by the police force and judiciary. (Child Labour Today)

     The causes of child labor are complex and include: economic exploitation, poverty, cultural circumstances, and values, results must be broad and involve the widest potential assortment of partners in each culture. Immediate action needs to be taken in order to eliminate such hazardous and exploitative labor. The concern for the well being of families whose only survival is depended upon the income of their children must embrace efforts to increase job opportunities for adults. Some more direct actions in which are needed are as followed:

     First, immediate elimination of perilous and manipulative forms of child labor, including commercial sexual exploitation, bonded labor, and work that hampers the child's physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. The government must take an immediate action to end them and should not be tolerable. Secondly, the government must execute prerequisite of free and essential education for all children. Governments must carry out their responsibility to make primary education complimentary and to guarantee all children attendance to a primary school on a full time bases. As well as, budget the crucial resources for this function, with donors ensuring sufficient funds from existing aid budgets. Thirdly, a wider legal protection needs to be made. Laws on child labor and education should be mutually supportive and consistent in purpose. National child labor laws should be obliged to deal with both the spirit and letter of the Convention and with related ILO conventions. The vast majority of child work must encompass such legislation in the informal sector of the economy; this would take account of work on the farms and streets, domestic work or work inside the child's own household.

     Fourthly, all children should be registered at birth. This registration is essential to permit the exercise of the child's rights, such as health care, access to education, and other services. This will furthermore provide employers and labor inspectors with evidence of every child's age in order to cut down and prevent child labor abuse. Fifthly, data collection and monitoring child labor stringently, if in fact the dilemma is to be addressed successfully. International and national systems must be laid out to gather and analyze internationally equivalent data on child labor. Within the home, in domestic service or on the family farm special attention is needed to these so called forgotten or invisible areas of child labor. Monitoring communities are vastly important, and working children should keenly contribute in evaluating their circumstances and advise ways to improve their surroundings. Lastly, in order to end child labor adopting codes of conduct and procurement policies will guarantee that neither the companies nor their subcontractors will utilize children in surroundings so as to infringe their civil liberties. Procurement procedures have got to be developed to be aware of the best interest of the child and take all actions to protect those interests. (Bellamy, UNICEF)