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The Pros and Cons of Child Labor in The Globalized World

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Introduction

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) defines a child as any person below the age of 18 years. Child labor, therefore, means engaging any person below 18 years into productive and paid work. The International Labor Organization (ILO) “defines child labor as work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.” The statistics on child labor varies from region or country to country. Countries with weaker economies have a higher prevalence of child labor. Child labor mainly affects children between the age of 5-18 years.

On a global scale, there are 152 million children, with 88 million boys and 64 million girls serving as victims of child labor. ILO, however, fears that cases of girls in child labor are under-reported due to the complexity like work they perform (ILO 11). Most girls work in domestic services, while boys work in industries or in production sites where data is easy to capture. More statistical information shows that about 73 million child laborers work in hazardous environments (Rafferty 159). A more recent report released by the United Nations in 2019 identified that child labor numbers were 218 million. UN also gave the regional distribution of these cases, with Africa carrying 19.6%, 7.4% in Asia, 2.9% in Arab countries, and 5.3% in the Americas (ILO 12). The struggle for children’s rights has been carried on a global scale, but the figures released by the international organization do not show any substantial success. The main question that one therefore asks is the benefits that child labor presents. Why has the illegal practice thrived in spite of the concerted efforts by different stakeholders to end it?

The Pros and Cons of Child Labor

The Pros

Child labor has survived the ages, and the raging storms against it mainly because of the economic advantages attached to it. Main benefits of child labor include;

Reduced Industrial Actions

Most companies are interested in the children’s workforce because they do not know their rights and therefore, would not stage resistance to unfair practices. Companies maximize on this vulnerability and naivety to exploit their energies and make the highest profits (UNICEF para 6). In some cases where children are sold into slavery, they provide free labor, and the organizations make 100% profits.

Working Children Help to Support their Families

Children from low-income families, especially in Africa, Asia, and Arab countries, mainly work to complement the meager incomes from their parents. Most of them use their earnings to pay school fees for their young siblings. In short, child labor helps to increase household income, and thus help to improve short term standards of living.

Child Labor Helps Children to Become Independent and Mature Fast

Most children that engage in paid labor do so because of poverty at home, though others may be lured through cheap money. Children forced into child labor by poor conditions at home learn to be responsible for taking care of their families (Radfar 3). These children also learn how to manage their incomes independently and adequately. They learn to live on their own away from parental responsibility, and this makes them more mature than their agemates (UNICEF para 5). Further, children learn to follow the dictates of their managers, and this makes them responsible in life. Finally, victims of child labor learn the value of the dollar and become good managers of resources.

The Cons

Child labor raises questions from the tender ages of the workers, to the working conditions, the vulnerability of the employees to the failure of the employer to support the child in educational programs. It appears, therefore, that the practice is entirely wrong and should not be practiced.

Exploitation and Mistreatment

From its definition, child labor causes both physical and mental injury to the child. Child employers mainly focus on increasing profits and give little regard to safety measures, and conventional standards such as human rights. These children may be forced to work for long hours, thus causing them physical injuries and psychological depression.

Growth in Illegal Businesses

Child labor creates space for the thriving of black markets such as drug peddling, child trafficking, and prostitution/brothels (UNICEF para 12). Due to their susceptibility, children from humble backgrounds usually drop out of school and fall prey to illegal business persons such as drug trafficking. Other investors open up brothels and place the teen girls there for prostitution.

Child Labor Denies Children an Opportunity to Exploit their Potentials

Every person has their potentialities and talents, and they should be allowed to exploit such potentials. Children should stay close to their parents, guardians, and teachers to help them discover and nature their talents (Radfar 6). Failing to expose children to training makes them less productive and employable, and they eventually enter into low-paying jobs.

Hazardous Working Environments Exposes Children to Health Risks

Children’s employers are insensitive to minimum standards of safety and health requirements because the main focus is the highest incomes. Children are ignorant of their rights, and workers and employees exploit this naivety to subject them to unfriendly working environments.

Conclusion

Child labor is a globally recognized problem affecting many parts of the world. Child labor is common in factory work, chimney sweeping, forced military work, shoemaking, illicit activities like drug trafficking, and pounding rocks for road making, among other fields (Rafferty 162). All these spaces pose health and physical threats to the children. Children working in these areas also experience mental stress and depression. Again, children victims of child labor lose their human dignity as if they partake in prostitution and also fail to exploit their potentials.

It is important to note that the sources reviewed focused mainly on the problem of child labor and gave limited attention to possible solutions. Possible recommendations for ending the issue of child labor include the creation of more unions and organizations to champion for the rights of children, including looking out for the perpetrators of the problem. Again, governments in different nations should offer free education to their children, with an emphasis on why they should discontinue forced labor. Finally, spirited campaigns geared towards changing the common perception on the value of child labor in critical to having the perpetrators stop it at volition. This paper recommends further research on the subject of child labor, with an emphasis on why it thrives and the best approaches to end it.

  

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The Pros And Cons Of Child Labor In The Globalized World. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-pros-and-cons-of-child-labor-in-the-globalized-world/
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The Pros And Cons Of Child Labor In The Globalized World. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-pros-and-cons-of-child-labor-in-the-globalized-world/> [Accessed 27 Jan. 2022].
The Pros And Cons Of Child Labor In The Globalized World [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Dec 16 [cited 2022 Jan 27]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-pros-and-cons-of-child-labor-in-the-globalized-world/
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