Child labour

Child labour is still a big problem in many developing countries but there are also cases when in well-developed countries children are used for labour. We still could buy and use clothes or household goods produced by children.

According to International Labour Organization estimates, there are about 250 million children between the ages of 5 and14 years who are forced to work and about 120 million of them, work is a full-time activity. The main reason for child labour is that their families are extremely poor. But there also other factors that drive children into employment, for example, prevalence of AIDS throughout many developing countries has resulted an enormous number of orphans who are forced to become their own breadwinners, lot of children are kidnapped from their homes or sold for child prostitution.

The most widespread abuses of child workers are in Bangladesh, Chad, DR Congo, Ethiopia, India, Liberia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia. Approximately 153 million (61,1%) children are employed in Asia, 80 million (31,9%) in Africa, 17 million (6,8%) in Latin America and Caribbean and 0,5 million (0,2%) in Oceania.

Children work at all sorts of jobs, large number of children work in commercial agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, mining, and domestic service. But there are also some children who work in illicit activities like the drug trade and prostitution or other traumatic activities such as serving as soldiers. An estimated 70,4% of child labour occurs in agriculture, fishing, hunting, and forestry. For example, children are used in harvesting:  bananas in Ecuador, cotton in Egypt and Benin, cut flowers in Colombia, oranges in Brazil, cocoa in the Ivory Coast, tea in Argentina and Bangladesh, fruits and vegetables in the U.S

About 20,8 million children are involved in manufacturing goods, including: Carpets from India, Pakistan, Egypt, Clothing sewn in Bangladesh; footwear made in India and the Philippines, Soccer balls sewn in Pakistan, Glass and bricks made in India, Fireworks made in China, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, and Peru, Surgical instruments made in Pakistan

Children also work in a range of mining operations, including: Gold in Colombia, Charcoal in Brazil and El Salvador, Chrome in Zimbabwe, Diamonds in Cote d’Ivoire, Emeralds in Colombia, Coal in Mongolia.

6 thoughts on “Child labour

  1. I just cannot believe that such a high number of children in the world are forced to work. I think this article frightening ratings. In our normal every-day life the awareness of the problem of child labour is very low whereas child labour belongs to the normal every-day life in many other countries. No child should be forced to work, it doesn’t matter if the family is poor or not, and it doesn’t matter if under good conditions or not. But as in the article presented this still happens all over the world. When I read articles about child labour I also have to ask me the question: How is it possible that grownups force children to work under miserable conditions, such as working in mines or with dangerous machinery, working with chemicals and pesticides in agriculture?
    I think it is not enough to stop and ban child labour because the ultimate cause, which is poverty, still exists. So it is necessary to fight against poverty by offering children a solid education in their countries. Every child in the world should have a fundamental right to education. It secures the future and many children’s life…

  2. Although governments (for example in Brazil) try to work against child work, it will be always difficult to abolish it completely. Many children work as domestic help or on small family farms in remote regions and so they’re quite hidden, so that they can’t be easily detected. But its really shocking to know that even the parents force their own “Flesh and Blood” to work hard and the worst one…sold to child prostitution! This is cause for concern! Maybe some children can be detected and will have the chance to get to a new family with love and education…essential things which every human being (especially a child) has the right to!

  3. Everybody knows that child labour exist, but in this high number it is really terrifying. I don´t mean child labour is good at all. Why does it exist? Because the high developed countries want to keep their life standards. This includes a lot of cheap consume good. And as long the society can´t see it directly, it doesn’t matter that much. The developed countries exploit the developing countries. That is sad, because in such countries they can´t see another opportunity to help themselves as thru child labour. They need the money. And the only way to get out of this circle for the children would be education, but they have to leave school much too early. Aid organizations try to publish the problems, which helps. As well big events like Olympia can help to reveal the problem, so that international pressure accrues. But at least it must give a change in the society, stop buying child labour stuff. A pharmaceutical company in Germany has a division, which travel around the world to find minerals, which are not mined by children, so they can sell a free labour work product. This is a way.

  4. Out of our perspective it is just terrible to see statistics like this: those high numbers of child labor! Unbelievable for us! But in those countries it is (unfortunately) the normal every-day life. I think we cannot change the situation in those country just by going there and tell them that children don’t belong into fabrics. In addition, another question rises, where would children do, if they weren’t working in the fabrics, but their families still need the money?! Drugs, criminality and prostitution are also common in poor countries.
    But one thing is certain: the situation is terrible and definitely needs to be changed! The consumer behavior has to be changed. The average consumer mostly doesn’t know where the products are exactly from and WHO produced it. I think it is our government’s responsibility to change the restriction concerning labels of origin. If articles are better marked as (like e.g.) Fair Trade products, the average consumer can make their decision if they buy articles which are made by children or not. The Western society should not “support” child labor involuntarily just because they don’t know who produced the product they just bought. Definitely, the prices will rise but it is an attempt to improve the situation of child labor in our world with a couple cents or euros. In this way one can assure higher wages for the workers and decent working conditions. Besides if not advanced economies set a sign, who already have a high standard of living, who is supposed to help and support the developing countries?


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