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Childhood is a vital and powerful experience in each individual’s lifetime. It is the most important and impressionable period of learning. Throughout all of the highs and the lows, childhood is remembered forever. Although children have many rights, in some developing countries these rights are not always protected. Older, manipulative adults are taking advantage of children to make a profit for themselves. This is known as child labour, and it happens much more than many people realize. Child labour is corrupt and there is no place for it in our modern world today.
Child labour happens in many countries. There are many reasons why children are being exploited. First of all, nothing much seems to be happening to prevent it. Child labour must be eliminated as quickly as possible, before many more children get trapped, like the millions who already have in the past. Secondly, many children are too young to realize that what is happening to them is wrong and illegal. Children under the legal age to work in these developing countries, have more important things they should be involved with than labour. Each child deserves a good education, as well as the opportunity to enjoy life, learn new things, and most importantly have fun. Hard labour at an early age can really affect a person’s outcome in the future. This terrible scam does not give children a fair chance in life; the chance for them to achieve their full potential.
Child labour involves children working at a very young age. The majority of children are between the ages of five to fourteen years. Children at this age in many developing countries work hard each and everyday with very low pay. Millions of youth are forced to work without any real choice whatsoever. The work absorbs so much of their time that school attendance is impossible. School is a very important period in life. School is where humans learn almost all the information they need to know and to use in the future. Education is a must and children should attend school; they should not be forced to work. One out of every four children in developing countries work. This is a sad statistic. Millions of children work and none of them should have to.
The children get paid so very little. Some children at this age, do not know how little they are getting paid. It’s not okay that the children are working under these conditions and it is not okay that they are getting underpaid. On average, children will earn less then half the pay of a wage-earning adult with seven years of education. This is happening because of many reasons. Children are more malleable; they will do what they are told without asking any questions. They are much more powerless. They are also more unlikely to organize against oppression and they can be physically abused without striking back. Some customs in developing countries are much different then in Canada. For instance, in some developing countries, some people think that low-caste children should work rather than go to school. They believe this is their only option and that they don’t need an education. In these countries, children are forced to mature much too quickly and they are not allowed to be ‘a kid’ for very long.
Some children are forced to work to support their family. The parents of these youths are mostly not employed and can’t find work or are very poorly paid. The child’s parents look upon them to bring in some money for the family. The roles of parent and child have been reversed. It should not be allowed. The adults have more experience, more time, usually a better education, and a lot more knowledge. The children should definitely not have to suffer and to be forced to work. Employers get away with paying children a whole lot less. It is mainly because there is no one to stop this from happening. Children become relied on and it is just not fair. Many countries have different laws for a minimum working age. In some countries there are no minimum age for working; the average is fifteen years old. In some countries, the age is between sixteen and eighteen. Any age below fifteen is much too young to be given that much responsibility.
The work that is demanded of children is long, and performed in dangerous conditions. This is unacceptable, and would not come close to today’s standards in Canada. Children are forced to work long days with little or no food, no breaks, and they sometimes have to work up to six days a week. This is more than the average Canadian has to work, and these employees are only five to twelve years of age. The majority of the employers take no account of the children’s legal rights. They are deprived of schooling, play, and social activity. They are also denied the emotional support of friends and family. The children are also vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse. These conditions would be very hard to accept and live with for the average adult, much less a child as young as five. Children in these countries are taught at an early age to accept the conditions of their jobs, and not to challenge them. Most parents of these children are surprisingly not against this. In fact, in some developing countries, the parents of a less wealthy family will often sign over their off-spring to factory owners, or their agents for small loans. The culture is in fact, a lot different in these countries then most cultures in North America, but this should not take place under any conditions. Parents are forced to sell their own children. Most people would think that this is unheard of, but it occurs everyday. This is wrong and should not take place. Children belong to their parents and nothing should have to come between them. The children don’t have a choice; they are powerless and they usually don’t even know what is going on. Some factory owners have kept the children in captivity, tortured them and forced them to work for twenty hours straight without a break. In some jobs, where a child is forced to do hard labour work, life expectancy has been reduced to twenty-five years or younger. This is almost like murder, and if not murder, certainly an extreme case of child abuse. Child labour is not allowing these children to live a full life. This slavery has to be stopped before it claims the lives of others. Nobody in this world, especially children, are capable of working so hard for so many hours.
Recently, many people from the US and Canada have brought this terrible situation to the attention of others. Petitions are now being signed to try to stop what is going on in these poor, developing countries. Craig Kielburger, a young boy from Toronto, is making a name for himself, as child labour activist. At age thirteen, Craig went to Asia for seven weeks, and found out the truth about child labour. He has informed many people about child slavery, and now he has an organization under way, throughout North America. Everybody in this world can really make a big impact on this issue. Since Craig told the world about child labour, thousands of people have pitched in to help solve the problem. UNICEF has done a lot in the last couple years to stop child labour. Slavery was thought to be ended hundreds of years ago, but yet little does the world know, it still takes place today. Abusing power has to be stopped. Taking advantage of innocent little boys and girls, is not right. All children should receive an education so that they can live a better life when they grow up, and feel good about themselves as people.
There are a few more key steps that will have to take place to fix this disastrous situation. First, the immediate elimination of hazardous and exploitative child labour is necessary. This means governments must take strong action against anything that hampers the child’s physical, social, cognitive, emotional, or moral development. They must also provide free and compulsory education. Birth registration of all children is a must. Registration is essential to ensure the child’s rights, such as access to education, health care and other services, as well as, to provide employers and labour inspectors with evidence of every child’s age. If these important steps are followed, child labour will go down, and quickly.
Child labour is cruel and in appropriate. It infringes on children’s rights, and it is just simply not fair. Child labour has been happening for a long time, but the majority of people tend to ignore it and shrug it off. Actions are now being taken to stop child labour. These deeds will slow down, and hopefully end child labour for good. The world will be a richer, happier place for all if child labour is stopped.
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