By Maia Alling C6
Child labor is, as defined by the International Labor Organization, “work that deprives
children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.” The living conditions for a child laborer are often dangerous and filthy. Child labor is a practice that is in need of prevention, but to prevent this issue you must first know the causes of it. Child labor is mainly caused by families in extreme poverty, lack of laws, poor law enforcement, and limited access to free education.
First of all, child labor can be caused by desperate families living in extreme poverty.
As stated by Matt Berg, “Many parents in impoverished countries push their children to work out of necessity.” The severe poverty in areas of Asia, Latin America and Africa often cause families to sell their children into child labor to gain money.
Similarly, in areas of the United States, migrant children are often forced to do backbreaking farm work to help their struggling families obtain money. As explained by Karen Fanning, “A typical farmworker earns $7,500 a year or less - hardly enough money to support a family.” Desperate families living in poverty feel the need to have their children perform child labor in able to gain money for necessities such as food, clean water and clothing.
Another cause of child labor is the lack of laws and poor law enforcement in certain countries. Many countries fail to have proper laws against child labor, as the article “Causes of Child Labor” described, “Child labor laws around the world are often not enforced or include exemptions that allow for child labor to persist in certain sectors, such as agriculture or domestic work.” This means that even if the laws claim that child labor is illegal in certain cases, like perhaps carpet manufacturing, it can still be legal in other cases such as working on a cocoa bean farm.
But, even if countries have proper laws against child labor, they are often violated
as there is poor law enforcement. Poor law enforcement is often caused by inadequate funding and lack of employees. As stated in the article “Causes of Child Labor,” “labor departments and labor inspection offices are often under-funded and do not have enough workers, or courts may fail to enforce the laws.” With lack of proper laws and law enforcement, child labor is unfortunately able to persist.
The last main cause of child labor is limited access to free education. When there is limited access to free education, many families do not see a benefit in paying for their children to go to school, or they may just not be able to afford it. If their children are out of school, they are often forced to work to provide money for their family instead of doing nothing. Limited access to free education is obviously a major issue for many families, as the article “Causes of Child Labor” revealed, “In 2006, approximately 75 million children were not in school, limiting future opportunities for the children and their communities.” Unfortunately, a community with uneducated citizens will eventually fall apart as nobody is able to take on the vital occupations such as doctors, teachers, police officers, lawyers, and dentists - and that is only to name a few.
In conclusion, child labor is the outcome of families in extreme poverty, poor enforcement and lack of laws, and limited access to free education. Families living in extreme poverty might become so desperate that they sell their children into child labor to obtain money for necessities such as food, clean water or clothing. Lack of proper laws and poor law enforcement are allowing child labor to persist in certain countries. Limited access to free education causes many families to believe there is no benefit to pay for their children to go to school, so instead their children are forced to work. Now that you understand what causes child labor, you can hopefully help eliminate this worldwide issue.