Child labor is a situation where people who are under age find themselves in various forms of employment. Child labor is severe in most parts of the world; it results from so many factors that can vary according to the geographical areas and other socio-economic issues around the world.
This research paper is going to analyze the situation fully and propose the way forward so that all the stakeholders become aware of the causes and solutions to child labor. The research is being carried because of the personal encounter with children whose age is still very young. Instead of being in school, they end up engaging themselves in child labor to raise funds to carter for their personal and dependents' needs.
This paper derives its conclusions from various books and publications by various scholars and researchers; these documents shall offer the necessary information that shall be helpful in detecting the causes and solutions to child labor.
Statement of the Problem
Child labor is very rampant in many parts of the world. Children of school going age do not go to school; they engage themselves in child labor to earn a living (Masci, 2004). This situation results from a number of problems, which may range from socio-economic problems to others.
Despite the nature of factors that lead to child labor, there is a felt need to combine efforts in combating this vice once and for all. All stakeholders must devise practical methods of combating it.
This situation is worrying in most parts of the world; many children are not attending school. This implies that, in the future, supply of labor shall be low because few people shall have the necessary skills.
The fact that children are engaging themselves in child labor at a tender age means that this impacts on them, both mentally and physically since they have to involve themselves in a lot of work which is beyond their scope.
The above clarification justifies the need to conduct research, to come up with recommendations that after proper implementation and reinforcement by the relevant authorities can play a big role in saving the future of children.
Objectives of the Research Paper
This research paper aims at analyzing the child labor situation very keenly, and come up with the basic solutions which will be put in place by the relevant authorities in order to solve this problem permanently.
The paper aims at proposing ways on how to ban child labor globally. This shall be done by urging all stakeholders around the world to play their part in ensuring zero tolerance to child labor in all parts of the world. This shall open future opportunities to children.
This research aims at covering the current child labor situation fully. This is to bring out the real picture of what is going on with a view of coming up with recommendations signifying the way forward. It is going to analyze roles of various stakeholders. It will suggest the necessary steps that each one of them has to take to meet the common goal which is curbing global child labor.
This section analyzes works of various scholars and researchers that cover the issue of child labor in details. It aims at shading some light on the situation that this paper aims at analyzing fully so that it may come up with its own conclusions and recommendations.
According to Clark (1996), concern about the use of child labor and sweatshops is growing as retailers are relying on low-wage workers. Labor leaders and human rights activists point out that many factories in the garment, carpet, and sport equipment industries hire young children and subject them to long hours, poor pay, unhealthy working conditions, and physical abuse (Clark, 1996).
He suggests that consumers, business and government, and labor unions should take action to stop such abuses. This is possible by raising public awareness about child labor. The banning of imports of sweatshop products and setting up humane work place codes can help curb child labor.
Clark goes ahead to say that, many companies agree that there is a problem, and in response, many are creating codes of conduct and supplier monitoring programs. Implementation of this policy shall cut child labor drastically.
He notes that Pakistan makes about 35 million of soccer balls that translate to 80% of the world's supply. The high demand means that children take part in production; that when the human rights activists come around, the manufacturers scramble to hide children.
Clark notes that the best solution the governments can put in place is by banning any kind of employment that incorporates children in the labor force. Every firm or industry must ensure that its employees are of age.
Masci (2004) analyzes reasons why human trafficking is more rampant in most communities around the world. They explain why women and girls find themselves more vulnerable to human trafficking and slavery. They blame the issue of human trafficking on power imbalances between women and men; this makes women more vulnerable to exploitation.
Young women and children find themselves in slavery to meet their family debts. The pressure and lure of increasing income in neighboring countries may force boys into situations where they suffer under the service of powerful employers.
According to an article of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2000, human trafficking is the third most profitable transitional crime. Hijacking involves various groups of people who do it either forcefully or by promising victims children lives.
It says that various governments should come up with very strict rules to protect children from human trafficking. The government should enact very strict anti-trafficking laws which deal with the perpetrators severely.
Masci (2004) highlights that there are 215 million child laborers worldwide, 130 million are boys while the rest are girls. This number comprises of children who are between 5-7 years. Majority of child laborers take part in agriculture, and only one in five child laborers is on the pay slip, most of them work freely in family farms.
He argues that hazardous work normally affects a child's health, morals or safety. The factors leading to child labor are poverty and lack of law enforcement in rural areas. The solution to child labor lies in the hands of many stakeholders who should come up with innovative approaches that combine community ownership. Agricultural solutions shall ensure that rights based action is put in place, to ensure both enough income and food security on one hand and effective implementation of labor conventions, on the other hand ("Countries Must Do More", 2000).
FAO has come up with programs to strengthen families' ability to earn sufficient incomes, food availability and nutrition. This helps families to send their kids to school then work.
Other solutions to child labor in agricultural activities may include; implementation of programs supporting income diversification. Risk resilience, quality rural education, natural resource management and labor-saving technologies target the root causes of child labor in agriculture. They help in giving sustainable solutions for addressing child labor in agriculture ("Countries Must Do More", 2000).
Harrison (2012) observes that many American families are benefiting from child labor since they are using their children and grandchildren on their farms to help in the running of farm affairs.
Many stakeholders are responding by urging the government to enact laws which can help protect the rights of these kids. The government is trying to come up with policies that shall define the role of kids in the labor sector; these laws aim at limiting the participation of children in farm affairs.
The source of farm related child labor is the fact that some parents and grandparents keep livestock or practice mixed farming; they seek the help of children when they think that the work load might overwhelm them.
In some families, it is a routine that these kids must take part in such kind of farm activities. Some parents end up overworking their children, which impacts negatively on the mental and physical well-being of the child.
Another reason as to why children engage in farm related activities is to raise some money to spend while in college. They look for money, to supplement what they are given by their parents.
Kids are encouraged to take part in farm activities of their neighbors as a sign of good neighborliness; that they live to appreciate the role played by people from their neighborhood in their upbringing.
A more convincing solution is that parents should discourage their children from taking part in paid services to their neighbors. Instead, they should direct their energies to their studies and other co-curricular activities.
Kana et al (2010) write an article, which is meant to examine if child labor affects the accumulation of a child's human capital. It examines this by use of a behavioral model in which labor is both a choice and simultaneous equation model with few explained variables. The model examines determinants of human capital evolution and its relationship with child labor.
The article establishes that no relationship exists between child labor and child schooling attainment. This article explains that school performance does not depend on a child's involvement in labor activities.
It proposes for a balance between academic activities and labor related activities. It argues that a child may involve him or herself in paid labor due to various socio-economic hardships that may be prevailing back at home.
A solution to child labor according to this article is analyzing the factors behind a child's involvement in such activities and liaising with all the concerned stakeholders. Consultations and involvement of relevant people leads to child labor free society.
International Labor Organization (ILO) interviews Nicolas Cage, a Hollywood superstar to get his views on how to contain child labor around the world. Cage is a global icon who is among other personalities idolized by kids around the world.
He says that there are more than 25 million youths under the age of 18 years who take part in labor activities across the world. Most of these children are taking part in risky working environments doing tough tasks.
He observes that most of these children find themselves in slavery, drug trafficking, and prostitution by factors which are beyond their control. Most of these kids do not attend school; they do not receive medical care or even basic education.
Cage takes a keen interest in the controversial issue of the child simply because he has two sons. For whom he thinks he must do everything possible to save millions of kids worldwide to move out of child labor.
He asks parents and all adults around the world to urge their governments to enact and enforce laws that will end child labor. The governments should organize international conventions to sensitize all stakeholders around the world to curb child labor and advocate for formal education.
He finally summons every human being to take responsibility in safeguarding the future of children by giving them a chance to school properly. This is so that they may get the necessary skills that they will sell to potential employers in the future.
Cage blames the issue of child labor on weak labor laws which do not properly articulate the rights of children; various stakeholders should step up their pursuit of child labor free society.
Clark et al (2008) write an article and base its arguments on the flow of events in the democratic republic of Congo. This country has a lot of mineral deposits where copper and others minerals are present (Clark et al, 2008).
Most of the people, especially the poor individuals, take part in mining activities so as to earn a living. There are a number of reasons why many children in Congo take part in child labor. Key factors among those reasons are poverty, lack of parents and weak labor laws which do not take the interests of children at heart.
Most of the kids spend most of their time in mining deposits mainly gathering remains of copper and cobalt for sale to middlemen. At times, many accidents occur like a collapse of mine walls, which claims lives of many people including kids.
This article blames the issue of child labor on weak labor laws which do not safeguard the rights of children. Most of the children end up missing school due to lack of fees and food. The situation can be rectified if all stakeholders work hand in hand to ensure that strict legislation is put in place, to ensure that kids go back to school and move out of child labor.
The writers blame China for the predicament of these children; most of the mining firms are owned by the Chinese firms, whose government has failed to advocate for child rights thus letting them suffer due to child labor.
Moore (2011) observes that Apple as a company admits that 91 children under the age of 16 are working in ten Chinese factories associated with it. The article observes that Chinese firms are turning to labor agencies and vocational schools to meet their labor demands. In some cases, recruitment sources may provide wrong identification cards that misrepresent people's age.
In order to address this problem, Apple is carrying out an audit of the supply chain to identify the underage workers in its factories. This is because underage youths are dismissed by the company. Another solution that Apple is putting in place is sending those kids back to their families, and urging the parents and guardians to take them back to school.
McDougall (2007) observes that young people take part in labor simply because of hardships that they undergo. The demand for cheap cloth in Europe makes the demand for labor in India to increase thus making producers and suppliers resort to child laborers.
He observes that the labor laws are very weak; that is why many business people are ignoring them. Children work under very harsh conditions that reflect slavery. The solution to child labor is that contractors must ensure that children are out of the workplace; they should provide them with schooling, and assure them of work opportunities once they reach the legal working age.
Katel (2008) says that the reason why child labor is rampant in sub-Saharan Africa is due to poverty. Most of the families are so poor to the extent that children are sent by their parents and guardians, to go out and look for any form of employment so that they supplement their parents' income. This problem exists because most economies are performing poorly; job creation is a headache (Katel, 2008).